Lack of mercy in St Albans care home closure

Maryland Convent and Care Home

Maryland Convent and Care Home - Credit: Archant

Residents and staff at a historic St Albans care home face a grim Christmas after being warned it is likely to close in February next year.

Maryland Care Home, which has been looking after elderly people for nearly 90 years at its Townsend Drive location, is under threat of closure according to a statement from the trustees of the Union of the Sisters of Mercy of Great Britain.

The announcement has left staff reeling, including Amber Seabrook, the newly appointed deputy home manager of Maryland.

A tearful Amber told the Herts Advertiser that she had resigned from her “secure” six-year job at another care home in St Albans to take up the role on November 5. But six days later staff were called to a meeting and told about the proposed closure.

Amber, who lives in Redbourn and has 15 years experience in the care industry, said: “It was a shock. Thirty days from the November 11 meeting, they have to say what they are going to do. I’m annoyed as I left a secure job for this position.”

She said she felt sorry for Maryland’s 26 elderly women who now faced uncertainty about their future care.

Amber said: “Because they are Sisters, they cannot place these ladies in a unisex environment. Nowhere else will cater for their spiritual needs like Maryland does. All the care staff are female.”

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She has called on Maryland’s trustees to find solutions to save the care home.

Amber warned that moving the women would have a “detrimental effect on their wellbeing. These ladies are vulnerable adults, most with nursing care requirements.

“They have staff here who know their needs and genuinely love and care for each and every one.

“Are the Sisters of Mercy going to stick to their purpose or are they going to take away the voice of the voiceless?”

A spokesman for the trustees said it was “regretted” that despite a long history of providing care in St Albans, there was no alternative but to consider closure.

While more than £500,000 had been spent refurbishing Maryland, millions of pounds more was needed to meet regulatory requirements.

He said there was, “no prospect of generating additional income necessary to cover capital infrastructure works”.

This had been compounded by the recent opening of more modern homes close to Maryland.

The spokesman added: “This has affected residency levels at the home, and as a consequence reduced income.”