The closure of dementia homes cruelly exposes the crisis of our social welfare system.


The Brushwood and Millvina nursing homes in Speke and Everton respectively opened last year as the first nursing homes built by the city government in the city for 25 years.

The imminent closure of two nursing homes in Liverpool has cruelly exposed the urgent crisis in the social care sector in our country.

Frightened families fear for vulnerable residents who will be relocated due to the closures

While there may never be a good time to move residents with complex needs from a home where they feel safe and settled, this is the absolute worst time to do so.

But now, less than a year after this opening fanfare, both homes are closing, uprooting 83 extremely vulnerable residents and putting 132 jobs at risk.

It was a groundbreaking moment when private provider Shaw Healthcare took over operation of the state-of-the-art dementia hubs.

The two homes had already restricted visits due to the dangers of the increasing number of cases in the city.

Around six weeks before Shaw’s official withdrawal from the homes, the number of coronavirus infections in Liverpool is rising.

New restrictions have now been imposed on the city in an attempt to stem the flow of new cases that threaten to spiral out of control.

When announcing the shock closure last month, operator Shaw Healthcare said that difficulties in filling vacancies during the coronavirus suspension had led to “intolerable losses”.

Brushwood in South Parade, Speke, has restricted visits in anticipation of coronavirus test results, while Millvina House in Hartnup Street, Everton, has been closed after a wave of cases in the area.

The families of those affected were stunned and wondered how these brand new facilities built by the city government could be closed after less than a year.

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The situation is bigger than in Brushwood and Millvina – there is a real crisis in our country’s social welfare system, a crisis accelerated by the pandemic, but one that had been building for many years before the corona virus came to our shores.

But figures quoted by Shaw Healthcare to the Council, which ECHO was able to see, show that it would cost the financially weak local authority around £80,000 a week to keep both houses open.

Some have asked why Liverpool City Council could not fund services in the two dementia hubs for another six months to avoid relocating residents during a possible second wave of the virus.

When asked about these quoted costs, Mike Smith, Shaw’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The services are operating at a significant and unsustainable loss, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic situation.

“As part of their contingency planning, Liverpool City Council asked Shaw for a cost estimate based on a worst case scenario, i.e. a two-week extension of the services’ operation after the proposed closure date, which is two key considerations: There would be very little revenue based on a small number of residents, and Shaw would have to pay more than twice the normal salary costs for the agency’s staff.

This would result in an invoice of more than £2 million sterling if the Council were asked to subsidize the costs for a period of six months.


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