EXPERTS have voiced fears that more health charities will shut their Scottish offices in the wake of a number of high -profile cases.

Campaigners warn that the move should not become a wider trend.

It is understood that around half a dozen organisations are thought to be looking at the possibility of moving staff to England.

Campaigners fear that with health the responsibility of Scottish ministers any closures will lead to worse outcomes for patients north of the Border..

Last month leading charity Asthma UK said that it could close its Scottish headquarters and base staff in England instead.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), has also confirmed it is to transfer staff and services from Scotland to the group that runs its services south of the Border.

Ian Welsh, the chief executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) , which represents more than 1,000 health and social care organisations, warned against any trend to shut Scottish offices.

He said: “The recent restructuring and retrenchment in the established Scottish offices of RNIB and Asthma UK is worrying news.

"These organisations, both ALLIANCE members, have strong track records of delivering high quality support to the people they represent.

"It is of particular concern that blind and partially sighted members of RNIB Scotland have not been consulted in the decision making process. I am extremely concerned this could happen with other Scottish branches of charities and urge the organisations concerned to rethink.”

Politicians also expressed concern.

Scottish Labour's health spokesman Jenny Marra said that with Scottish ministers responsible for health north of the border it was “more important than ever” for charities to be fully engaged in the debate about tackling many of the big challenges that face Scotland.

“It is, of course, for charities to decide how to spend their donors' money,” she added, “but I hope as many as possible can be convinced that keeping their Scottish offices open is a worthwhile use of their resources."

More than half a million Scots are thought to suffer from asthma.

Asthma UK says that it launched a consultation into the future of its Scottish office because it has a duty to ensure it makes best use of its limited funds, which comes from charitable donations.

A spokesman this week said that the charity was currently involved in an appeals process.

It is understood that follows a decision to push ahead with proposals to close the organisation’s office in Scotland.

The charity has also proposed scrapping its offices in Wales and Northern Ireland – where health is also devolved - in a move that could make a total of five staff redundant.

But the charity insists that it will still carry on its work in Scotland, including lobbying Scottish ministers on behalf of patients.

It insists any changes would be to streamline resources, not cut services.

A spokesman said that it would not be appropriate to comment while the charity was in the middle of the appeal period.