A FAILING Widnes care home facing closure has been saved.

Halton Council is taking over Millbrow Care Home in Widnes which was put in special measures after alarming failings were discovered.

Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission unveiled a catalogue of serious problems and rated the overall service as inadequate.

Anxious relatives worried about 30 loved ones losing their home are relieved and the jobs of 52 staff have been saved.

Halton Council leader Cllr Rob Polhill said today: “We were shocked when we heard the home was looking to close.

“We were determined to do all we could to save it. Our main concern is the people who live there.

“I am very relieved that we have managed to transfer ownership to the council.

“Relatives now have peace of mind that their loved ones can stay in the place they call home.”

Inspectors found that several residents had lost weight and some had been left for 17 hours without a drink.

Allegations of abuse had not been notified or acted upon and relatives’ complaints had not been investigated.

Inspectors said a number of people looked unkempt with dirty finger nails or unbrushed hair.

They saw one person who required immediate help with personal hygiene left in an ‘undignified and distressing state’.

Inspectors rated the home as inadequate in four of the five main areas – safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and leadership.

Four Seasons Health Care has confirmed that an agreement has been reached to transfer the operations of Millbrow Care Home to Halton Council.

The sale is subject to regulatory approval from the Care Quality Commission.

Rachael Junge, Four Seasons’ regional managing director said: “This is a very good outcome for everyone and particularly for the residents who will continue to be cared for at Millbrow, their families and the care team.

“The staff will be offered continuity of employment so residents should have the assurance that they will be looked after by the same people who are caring for them now.

“It is several months since we informed the council that we were considering ceasing to operate the home and we began to engage with them and the landlord to try to secure its future and now we have certainty.

“Four Seasons Health Care did not lightly come to the decision to cease operating the home and it was based on a combination of factors.

“We have had local difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, particularly nurses, with the right level of skills, which has necessitated a high use of temporary agency staff and has resulted in challenges to maintain the standards that we expect all of our homes to provide.

“The home has not been financially sustainable for some time.”