Care company Alternative Futures Group (AFG) recently announced to their employees and family members of service users that Wirral Social Services have decided that there are “too many registered homes” on the Wirral and AFG were to close all of its registered care homes in the area. All service users currently living in AFG registered care homes (including severely disabled individuals) are to be moved to cheaper (for social services) supported living accomodation.
Supported living involves a lower level of staffing and support for service users and is generally considered to be appropriate for more able individuals, as a result many service users will be moved out of homes that they have lived in for many years with and qualified nursing staff have been made redundant.
Support staff have been threatened with immediate dismissal if we discuss the changes outside of the company or say anything “disparaging” about the decision. We have not been consulted at any stage and both the company and Social Services have consistetly refused to explain to staff or families of service users why the decision has been made or exactly what the arrangements for service users and staff will be.
This is not an isolated instance of poor management or planning. As Social Services continue to look for places to make cuts, both vulnerable people and the staff that are employed to support them will continue to suffer.