Mystery surrounds the rumoured departure of North Ayrshire’s health partnership chief.

Stephen Brown, the head of North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (NAHSCP) and chief officer of the Integration Joint Board, is said to have left his role amid the heightening pandemic.

Mr Brown was appointed in April 2017.

An orphan, he once told the Sunday Post that the loving family who adopted him gave him a great start in life.

He told the publication that he wanted to work to give every child the same chance he was given.

In February this year, Mr Brown, along with the heads of the three Integration Joint Boards of the health and social care partnerships in East, North and South Ayrshire, launched their Caring for Ayrshire vision.

Caring for Ayrshire outlined a 10-year plan for delivering health care services across the region following a number of engagement events in the previous 12 months.

Mr Brown called it an ‘exciting and ambitious vision’.

But now it is unclear why he will not be heading up the programme.

During his tenure he has driven a number of pilot schemes.

One involved sending specialist teams of psychologists and social workers into two schools in Irvine.

The other scheme saw social workers seconded to Kilmarnock Police station where they worked with officers investigating alleged abuse.

When the Scottish Government decided to scrap plans to enforce the Named Persons Scheme in law a year ago, Mr Brown assured North Ayrshire residents that the policy would be pursued.

At the time he said: “Whilst we will need to review terminology we continue to be committed to the principles of Getting it Right for Every Child and the delivery of a high quality service supporting children, young people and families.”

At the last Integration Joint Board meeting, held virtually on September 24, Mr Brown did not attend.

NAHSCP, North Ayrshire Council and NHS Ayrshire and Arran all refused to comment on Mr Brown’s departure.

A North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership spokesperson said: “We do not comment on matters related to employees.”