Parents have said they are “at the end of their tether with worry” as they continue to fight a controversial proposal to merge two day services for vulnerable people in Renfrewshire.

A final decision on the suggested amalgamation of the Mirin and Milldale centres for adults with learning disabilities and autism is on the back-burner for now.

Helen McAleer, 71, whose 50-year-old daughter Amanda attends the latter at the On-X Linwood, referred to the state of play as a “stay of execution” as she conceded it remains a “worrying time” for carers.

Voting members of the IJB – responsible for oversight of Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) – could not come to an agreement on how to proceed as they discussed the issue at the end of last week.

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, an SNP representative for Johnstone South and Elderslie, moved that a potential merger be “rejected” and the status quo maintained amid a “social care crisis” and “impending implementation of the National Care Service bill”.

However, Margaret Kerr, a non-executive representative of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, put forward an amendment requesting that a “fully-informed decision” be made at a later date once the IJB has considered the “complete findings” of the HSCP’s engagement work.

A vote resulted in a 4-4 deadlock, meaning neither passed and the matter will either be continued to a later meeting or go to a dispute resolution. Meanwhile, in the background, the proposal is the subject of a petition for judicial review.

Reflecting on the situation, Helen, who attended a protest at Renfrewshire House in Paisley before the IJB, said: “We’ve only really got an extension – it’s an extension of what’s happening just now and it’s still a worrying time for carers and the cared for. It’s only been extended down the road.

“We had so many turn up on Friday morning. We have carers who are at the end of their tether with worry and we’re still resolved to do the best we possibly can for the least able in our society and that’s what our children are.”

The proposals, which were initially unveiled in November, said combining Mirin and Milldale would support “evolution of services towards a community delivery outreach model whilst maintaining a building-based provision strand.”

A revised service would focus on eligibility only for people who have family-based support, with a different approach taken for people with supported living care packages. This particular point has concerned carers.

Helen said: “At the protest, there were posters of 33 people in different poses, black silhouettes, and that was for the 33 people who have no voice, people who are in supported accommodation who could lose their day service.

“We still have them at the forefront of our minds, because that could be any one of our children at any time. We’re not going to live forever.”

On this, the HSCP has said: “With this proposal, we have suggested prioritising those service users who live with families, as we know day service provision provides much-needed respite and support to parents and carers.

“For our service users who live in independent living, if the proposal was agreed, we would work with them and their providers to look at all options to agree how best we support them.”

The prospect of a merger might be hanging in the balance but for Helen and her peers their campaign continues.

“The very fact it hasn’t gone through has given us a pause,” she added. “That’s all it is at this moment in time.

“Carers still want it off the table altogether. If we hadn’t had that stay of execution, we would be closing.”