IRVINE and Kilwinning’s MSP has been accused of ignoring an NHS funding crisis because it is her party in government.

Labour’s Robert Foster, NAC’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, made the accusation after NHS Ayrshire and Arran approached the Scottish Government asking for “brokerage” of £23 million to cover the boards deficit for 2017/18.

However MSP Ruth Maguire hit back, saying Labour should concentrate on the local health board, ‘which the Labour leader happens to sit on’.

The Irvine South Councillor accused Cunninghame South’s MSP of giving the impression that NHS Ayrshire and Arran is properly funded despite, in addition to the requested £23 million crisis loan, local NHS chiefs are drawing up £25million of cuts for 2018/19 and are still projecting to end that financial year with another multimillion-pound deficit.

Cllr Foster said: “It is time Ruth Maguire was honest about the scale of the funding crisis our local NHS faces instead of trying to pull the wool over her constituent’s eyes.”

“The silence from our MSP Ruth Maguire since NHS Ayrshire and Arran sought a £23million crisis loan from the Government has been deafening. “This toxic combination of underfunding and poor workforce planning has left NHS Ayrshire and Arran in financial meltdown.”

“It is time Ruth Maguire was honest about the scale of the funding crisis our local NHS faces.”

But the MSP hit back, saying: “The facts are that NHS Ayrshire & Arran received an extra £19.9 million funding compared to last year – taking the total investment from the SNP Scottish Government for the year ahead to £694.9 million.

“The budget also delivers a pay rise for hard working nurses, doctors, cleaners and clerical staff throughout the NHS by lifting the public sector pay cap.

“Instead of attacking an SNP Scottish Government which is delivering for our health service – it seems like Labour would be better advised to turn their attention to NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s health board – which the Labour leader of North Ayrshire council happens to sit on.

“Questions have to be asked as to why a well-funded health board – having received a £19.9 million funding boost on last year – has not been able to perform within budget like the vast majority of other health boards.

“I have sought an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive of the health board to raise my own concerns directly and offer my support. I know that, like me, his overriding priority is to ensure that patients in Ayrshire & Arran continue to receive first class care.”