A Renfrewshire councillor was left 'astonished' after a senior representative rejected an invite to discuss two support centres merging.

Councillor David McGonigle had invited the unnamed senior official from Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership to attend what is described as a "crucial" meeting.

However, they advised they would be unable to attend.

The Gazette:

The public meeting which was set to take place on Friday, February 2 in Linwood, has now been cancelled.

The plan of action was to discuss the proposal to merge sites that support vulnerable adults at The Mirin in Paisley and The Milldale Centre in Linwood.

A petition was started in December to oppose the plans which has gathered more than 2000 signatures, with residents strongly against the idea.

Councillor McGonigle said: “The anger among local people over these plans only continues to grow, which is why I was planning to hold a public meeting in Linwood over them.

“It is utterly remarkable that over 2300 people have signed a petition to mark their opposition in the space of a month.

“I was deeply disappointed that my invitation for a representative from the health and social care partnership to attend was turned down."

Fears had first been voiced last year when it was announced the future of lifeline services for Renfrewshire’s vulnerable was at risk.

It came after proposals to help plug a £14.7 million budget black hole was revealed.

But the Conservative politician for Houston, Crosslee and Linwood, has said that if the merger goes ahead it will be a “devastating blow” for vulnerable families.

He also added that the buck stops with the SNP Government who have imposed “savage cuts” to councils year after year.

He said: “It leaves local people unable to directly question decision-makers on these proposals.

“If this merger goes ahead it will be a devastating blow for the most vulnerable families across Renfrewshire.

"These centres are a lifeline for them but they look set to bear the brunt of the savage cuts the SNP have imposed on local councils year after year.

“I hope that the health and social care partnership can re-think their decision not to attend and guarantee someone will come along to a future public meeting.”

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A spokesperson from Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said: “The Integration Joint Board (IJB) agreed at its meeting in November that HSCP Officers should undertake a formal engagement process with our service users, residents, families and carers - as well as with our HSCP staff and any other relevant stakeholders - to gain a fuller understanding of all views around the savings proposals currently under review.

"This formal engagement process has been underway throughout December and more sessions have been arranged until the end of January.

“Our approach provides sufficient opportunities for those affected to make their feelings known.

"It is also critical that we capture people’s views in a consistent way, as this will provide the most meaningful information to inform our analysis – and will form the basis of the subsequent EQIAs, impact assessments and the final proposals that IJB Members will be asked to consider in March.”