More than 100 Liverpool families and scores of staff face a Christmas of chaos after a number of Liverpool care homes announced closures in quick succession.
Yesterday Aigburth's James Nugent Court followed Edinburgh Park in Clubmoor and Amberleigh House in Fazakerley to make it the third home in the city to announce its closure in as many months.
The move will leave families of residents at James Nugent Court scrambling to find new places for their loved ones to live before Christmas, while staff are set to lose their jobs in the middle of the festive period.
The timing of the closures has been slammed by workers and families.
The decisions to close the homes reflect wider pressures facing care homes in the city and across the country.
Adult social care budgets are being squeezed and homes are running up large deficits.
James Nugent Court's deficit was a huge £3m, despite it only opening six years ago, while Amberleigh House's was estimated to be £500,000.
But while Nugent Care, the charity that runs the home, said pressures had become too large to run the home, many readers have criticised the move to close the home just before Christmas.
One nurse, Anne San, said she had worked with staff at the home previously and called the timing of the closure "disgraceful".
She said: "For the life of me I cannot imagine how anyone can do that four weeks before Christmas.
"We know social care is in crisis but the staff have families to feed, the residents are elderly and frail.
"A lot of the staff are the main breadwinners for their families.
"As far as I am concerned these companies should hold their heads in shame."
Each property was inspected by the Care Quality Commission over the last year, with a combined total of 107 residents living at the three homes.
That's in addition to many other dementia sufferers and elderly people who used non-residential services at another Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton site which is also set to close.
A spokesman for Nugent Care said on Wednesday: "We took the business decision to consult on the closure at James Nugent Court in February, and have been working with commissioners and other providers to explore the best possible outcomes for the residents and our staff at the home within the limits of this consultation.
"Our preference, with support from Liverpool City Council, was to identify an alternative provider for James Nugent Court; however, efforts to date, including detailed exercises with two providers, have proved unsuccessful to provide a transfer opportunity.
"Therefore, with no alternative, we have taken the difficult decision to close James Nugent Court.
"Nationally, the social care funding crisis has seen many providers of adult social care leave the sector unable to continue meeting the funding gap that exists between the full cost of care and the funding available from Local Authorities, who are asking for increasingly complex care and support, with less financial resources.
"Whilst we noted that central government may be promising to invest more finances into care, it has unfortunately, come too late for our home."
Liverpool Council cabinet member for adult health and social care Paul Brant said staff were working with Nugent support residents.
Councillor Brant said: “There are alternative placements available in the city and the transition to new accommodation will be carefully managed so it is as smooth as possible.
“We are putting in place dedicated resources to support the process, including ensuring there are care plans for each individual, and will continue to provide ongoing support after the move so they are well settled and their needs are being appropriately met.”