Cuts of almost £5 million are being made to the North Ayrshire health and social care partnership's (HSCP) budget for 2023-24.

Children’s services and elderly care are set to be majorly affected as a result of the decision.

This was revealed at a meeting of the integration joint board (IJB) on Thursday when the budget was passed with £4.962m of savings.

Key cuts are as follows:

  • £273,000 is being cut from children’s houses with a review of staffing provision and there will also be a reduction in care home places, saving £1m.
  • Some £560,000 will be cut in care home respite. All respite care will be provided in-house at Anam Cara, Kilbirnie, and Montrose House, Isle of Arran, and any use of other respite provision funded via the carers budget.
  • £210,000 will be saved by cutting the number of beds in Montrose House, Arran from 30 to 20 across two staffed wings. Intermediate care beds at Arran War Memorial Hospital will be introduced.
  • Some £112,000 will be cut by reconfiguring respite provision at Anam Cara. The service is currently relocated to Taigh Mor in Beith (eight beds) on a temporary basis and this proposal would reduce capacity from 14 beds to nine in one wing when it reverts to Anam Cara.
  • £85,000 is being cut from the running costs of the pool at North Ayrshire Council’s learning disability facility, Trindlemoss, which will not open. The pool has never opened due to ongoing maintenance issues and actual costs are expected to be much higher. Alternative therapies will be provided, including bounce therapy.

Louise McDaid, North Ayrshire branch secretary of Unison and IJB member, said: “I am concerned about the mention of a residential review. When we talk about savings, I look at it as cuts and I have a concern in the way this is being done.

“This is the first time I have been told about this. It’s a public paper and the staff will learn about it as well.  We have to do these things more compassionately in terms of the staff who run the services.

“This is a public paper but the trades unions were not told.”

An IJB board member said there would be discussions on the proposals and staff would be consulted fully.

Arran councillor Timothy Billings said: “There is a significant risk to the care service on Arran and this is adding to that with the reduction of beds available.”

Provost Anthea Dickson added: “Our risk register is definitely increasing year-on-year with the global uncertainties. No market is left untouched and the shortage of staff we have. So, it’s a highly-competitive position.”

It’s projected that there will be a 2022-23 year-end underspend of £1.181m.