HEALTH and social care services are managing “by the skin of their teeth” due to ongoing budget cuts, MSPs have been told.

Council officials, union leaders and nursing and medical associations told a Holyrood committee that cutbacks were having an impact on services and that patients were suffering as a result.

MPs on the Scottish Parliament Health Committee were warned resources have been stretched as far as they could and were told that budget cuts need to be reversed next year to restore a sufficient service.

Julie Murray, Chief Officer, East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said over the years the HSPC has made efficiency savings targeting the “low hanging fruit” but it was now becoming more difficult.

She said it was using almost £1m of reserves to stay within budget this year.

However, she added: “We will manage 2017 but we are very concerned about future years. We are managing by the skin of our teeth at the moment.”

In order to stand still she warned that an additional £3m a year would be needed instead she estimated that a cut of £3m would be most likely.

Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser of Unison spoke at the committee meeting.

In a written submission, Unison said health and care staff were warning of a reduction in levels of care due to budget cuts.

Unison said: “Four in five said they believe the service has been affected by budget cuts or privatisation with carers saying the emphasis was now on “quantity rather than quality.

The main complaint is that staff have insufficient time to care.”

Doctors warned cuts to addiction services were having a serious impact and were a “false economy”.

The British Medical Association Scotland said: “The 2016/17 budget saw funding to local Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) fall by around 22%, with no move to restore these funds in the 2017/18 budget.”

The BMA said it was posing problems for providing services.

It added: “Reducing the funds available for such support services is a false economy, which will only increase pressures on the health service and general practice in particular.

“It is hard to see how this decision is compatible with the Scottish

Government’s stated priorities in relation to reducing alcohol harm.”

The BMA called for funding of APDs to be restored to 2015/16 levels in the next budget if priorities were to be met.

While the Royal College of Nursing said the current integration process of health and social care was being made more difficult with the need for budget savings

It also said financial pressures was causing tension between councils, health boards and HSCPs.

The RCN said: “Trying to transform health and social care services within available funds, to ensure that demand can be met now and into the future, is creating significant challenges.”