THERE's a war of words over a potential £70,000 funding cut to stroke support services on the Isle of Wight.

Council health bosses justified the termination of the Stroke Association's service last night (Tuesday) by saying they had tried renegotiating to no avail and the service was already being provided by other groups.

The Stroke Association refute both those points.

The funding cut has been announced as part of the council's savings plan but could see the termination of the service altogether after the contract ends in June.

Speaking at the council's corporate scrutiny committee, the authority's director of adult social care, Laura Gaudion, said they tried to renegotiate the contract with the Stroke Association — to see if they could reduce funding instead of removing it — but the support group "were unable or unwilling to work with them."

She said the decision was not taken lightly but they reached a point where the service has to be terminated at the end of the contract.

The Stroke Association responded to the comments, saying it actively engaged in conversations with the council and made it clear they were happy to explore alternatives for different levels of funding and put forward options for discussion, which continues to be the case.

Ms Gaudion said stroke survivors and their families will continue to receive the support they need as the cut would not impact the clinical support available through the NHS or other health partners.

She said since the Covid pandemic, needs have changed after a peer support network was developed by stroke survivors and their families.

Ms Gaudion said that is proving more effective and providing greater levels of support to people in their homes than the drop-in coffee morning sessions did.

There is also a duplication of services, Ms Gaudion said, with other health partners providing support for stroke survivors and their families and the authority was confident full support would be in place.

After the meeting, Jacqui Cuthbert, the Stroke Association's associate director for the South West and Channel Islands, said the peer support networks tend to be in small numbers.

"They do not replace the dedicated and personal support service that 300 survivors on the Island each year desperately need in the early stages of their recovery, when it is most effective in helping them rebuild their lives."

Ms Cuthbert said this support was not offered by any other organisation or group.

The final decision will be made at the Isle of Wight Council meeting on February 22.