Fears have been voiced over the future of lifeline services for Renfrewshire’s vulnerable as proposals to help plug a £14.7 million budget black hole are revealed.

Senior health and social care partnership (HSCP) officials have spent months working on plans to deliver savings in a bid to tackle the mammoth gap for 2024/25 amid a brutal financial climate.

But measures suggested to close a small part of that deficit – including closing a care home and merging Mirin and Milldale day services for adults with learning disabilities – have caused anxiety among the individuals and families who rely on the facilities.

Helen McAleer, 71, whose daughter Amanda, 50, attends Milldale, based at the On-X Linwood, has sounded the alarm over a potential amalgamation – warning it would mark the “start of withering on the vine”.

She said: “Amanda was brain damaged at birth and she’s required services all her life. She will always require full-time care and, at the moment, our great respite is Milldale day centre where Amanda goes four days a week.

“Years of experience have taught me to read between the lines and not just on the lines. What they’ve said to us is they’re proposing the amalgamation of Milldale and Mirin. That’s the start of withering on the vine.”

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Helen said she and her husband John, 72, know that when Amanda, who has cerebral palsy and a learning disability, attends Milldale she is “happy and well taken care of”.

However, it worries them that the shape of the service could change significantly in the future.

She said: “When you read what they’re saying, they’d amalgamate with a view to moving forward to a community-based service. One would close but they’d not be able to get everybody in at the same time.

“They don’t want to have building-based services. What they want is for people to take packages and for us to become niche employers and employ our own services.

“That’s where we’re heading. It’s happening quite quickly because of the financial crisis.

“As parents, we know the value of having building-based services. It’s somewhere for Amanda to go between 9am and 3pm, four days a week, where we don’t have to worry. We know she’s happy and well taken care of.

“What they want is Amanda to employ somebody at home and take her out somewhere in the community. We know that is not the best thing for Amanda, but it will help them balance the budget by not having the buildings.”

Among the other proposals, which will be discussed at Friday’s meeting of the integration joint board (IJB) – the body responsible for oversight of the HSCP – is the closure of the Flexicare service for young people and adults with a learning disability or autism.

It has also been suggested the ongoing closure of Falcon Day Centre is made permanent and closure of Montrose Day Centre maintained, pending the final outcome of the care home proposal.

Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership has emphasised that no decisions have been made as of yet. It said in a statement that, like areas across the rest of the country, it is facing “significant financial challenges”.

A HSCP spokesperson added: “We must make savings to close our current budget gap, as we have a legal duty to maintain a balanced budget.

“Renfrewshire is a high performing partnership, but given the financial challenges faced, we are no longer able to continue to deliver the breadth of services that are currently provided.

“We know this is very difficult for everyone who relies upon us, but we must act to prioritise resources and protect our statutory services.

“It is important to say that no decisions have been made yet. The IJB will meet on Friday to consider proposals – and if they agree for us to proceed, we will begin a period of engagement with our service users, residents, families, and carers, as well as with our HSCP staff, to gain a fuller understanding of all views around these options.

“We will use feedback from these discussions to plan the safest way forward for our services, with the needs of the people who use our services, and their families, at the heart of our decision making.”