VITAL health and social care services are under pressure as 30 staff are forced to shield again.

The new lockdown means that many carers and home helps with underlying health conditions are unable to work as the new strain of coronavirus causes havoc.

Bosses from Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership revealed the shielding numbers as they suspended plans to restore older people's services in the community while the current restrictions are in place.

A meeting of the health and social care committee had been set to agree to proposals which included the limited reopening of both the Port Glasgow Muirshiel and Greenock Crown Care facilities.

But instead staff will be providing critical home care only, as health and social chiefs move to protect employees and vulnerable service users.

Head of health and community care Allen Stevenson said: "With the Covid situation in the community we have 30 staff in our home care services shielding.

"We are looking to use our workforce to keep providing home care services. "

He informed the committee that it was simply not safe to pilot the planned smaller scale efforts to put older people back into daycare services again.

Mr Stevenson said: "In our conversations with families this is something they would simply not want to do just now.

"I am afraid we will have to put the recovery plan on hold.

"We have had to completely reassess our options."

Council leader Stephen McCabe has urged officers to set out what care older people can expect,

He said: "We are aware of the significant impact this has had on the wellbeing of our older people and it is of a national priority."

The proposals on the table had been to keep Hillend Day Care Centre closed until at least April but step up outreach services.

A new recovery plan will now have to be drawn up but news on the lockdown review will largely determine what happens.