Bosses 'extremely sorry' as plans to close care home are revealed

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Residents and staff at a care home face an uncertain future after bosses announced it is set to close.

Birchley Hall care home provides residential and dementia care in a grade II-listed Tudor manor house on Birchley Road, Billinge.

It has space for up to 31 people over two floors and was rated as “good” in its last inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

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Birchley Hall care home in Billinge is set to closeBirchley Hall care home in Billinge is set to close
Birchley Hall care home in Billinge is set to close

But staff and residents have been told that a consultation has been launched on plans to close the home, which will run until July 15.

People currently living there will have to move and a date for the closure will be set once the consultation has ended.

Birchley Hall was previously operated by charity Sue Ryder before becoming one of 10 care homes run by Qualia Care Ltd.

But the firm went into administration last year and has since been run by Healthcare Management Solutions.

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A spokesperson for the home said: “We are extremely sorry that we have found no alternative to closing the home, despite exploring every avenue. Unfortunately, the scale of work required to bring the building up to the standards our residents deserve is not viable.

“We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, and we will work with the local authority and our residents and their families to support a smooth transition to new homes.

"We’d like to thank the fantastic staff team and they will be supported to find positions in a sector that is desperate for good quality people. They will also be welcome to apply for roles within the wider group.”

The announcement came as a shock to both residents and staff at the home, who are now writing letters to MPs and councillors in a bid to keep it open.

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One member of staff, who spoke to the Wigan Post anonymously, said the home was not failing, but did not get the investment it needed.

They said: “Lots of the staff have worked there for over 30 years. All the residents of Billinge are going mad.

"They were umming and ahhing whether to fix the lift for ages. We were told they were getting quotes and that was it. The investment team was looking for a buyer and that’s all we heard. Then we had a staff meeting and were told we had 30 days’ notice.

"We don’t know what will happen now. Residents’ families have been told to look for other care homes. Our oldest resident is 99 and we had a big celebration planned for next year.”

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Council bosses have pledged to support residents and staff throughout the closure.

Coun Marlene Quinn, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for integrated health and care, said: “We fully appreciate that this will have been a worrying time for Birchley Hall residents and their families, and we're doing all we can to support them. We will ensure that suitable places are available to all residents, following the unfortunate but necessary closure of the care home by its management.

“We will also ensure that support is in place through our Ways to Work programme for the dedicated staff affected by the closure, whose considerable skills and experience will no doubt be highly sought after.”