TWO Tay Bridgehead councillors have backed calls to delay making a decision on the future of Netherlea Hospital after 1200 people signed a petition calling for it to remain open.
A decision on whether to close the facility is expected to be made at a meeting of the Community Health Partnership (CHP) next Tuesday but pressure is mounting for more information to be made public about alternative proposals if the Newport hospital was to close.
The Friends of Netherlea Hospital (FONH) have written to CHP chairman Graham Watson and handed in the petition asking for a rethink on the closure.
Chairman of the FONH, John Naysmith, said this week that he believed the decision to close Netherlea had been rushed.
“The plan seems to be to recruit a lot of care workers to help look after people in the community but what if the hospital is closed before they have the new posts filled?” he added
“They seem to think they can save money and improve the service by closing Netherlea, but we believe some people will always need 24-hour hospital care no matter how good the alternatives are.”
Local councillors Tim Brett and Maggie Taylor have also called for the decision to be postponed.
“The fact that over 1200 people have signed this petition in only two weeks shows just how strongly people in the Taybridgehead area feel about this issue,” they said.
“The Friends of Netherlea and ourselves are calling on the CHP to delay making a decision on the future of the hospital at their meeting on October 4.”
Netherlea was earmarked for closure earlier this year following a review of inpatient care across Fife.
With a focus on moving care away from residential settings to helping people stay at home longer, the CHP believe new community hospital facilities in Cupar and St Andrews, as well as the provision of diagnostic and treatment services, will enable them to close Netherlea.
But opponents claim the alternatives have not yet been fully explained and have called for more information to be made public.
In their letter to the CHP, the FONH say: “Netherlea is currently full and therefore serving a useful purpose for the community.”
“We are of the opinion that there has not been adequate time for consultation and this information has not been properly communicated to the public.
“We believe the community of the Taybridgehead area have been let down by the proposals of the CHP and that they represent a significant loss of service to the community.”