A WARD at a Kirkcaldy hospital looks set to close over the coming months.
NHS Fife confirmed this week a decision on the closure of the Carlyle Ward at Whyteman’s Brae Hospital is to be made by the Kirkcaldy and Levenmouth Community Health Partnership (CHP) committee in September.
The purpose of the 23-bed ward is to provide continuing care for patients, but with a decline in the numbers requiring this care for the past year, only two patients are currently in the ward.
A spokesman for NHS Fife said that as the demand for continuing care has decreased, the Carlyle Ward has been used for ‘transitional’ patients, with the ward currently housing 12 patients who are either awaiting placement in care homes or for other suitable accommodation.
The spokesman said: “The committee has discussed the diminishing demand for continuing care and we anticipate it will agree to the closure of this ward which is likely to take place over the next few months, although no specific date has been set.
“Patients and relatives have been contacted individually and advised of the proposed closure.
“They have been assured that alternative arrangements will be made for them should they still be housed in the ward when it closes.
“NHS Fife has invited patients and relatives to meet with senior staff to alleviate any concerns.
“Staff within Carlyle Ward will be relocated to other areas within NHS Fife in line with the Organisational Change Policy and arrangements for this are ongoing.”
With transitional patients being accommodated in Carlyle Ward - although this is not its designated purpose - concerns may be raised whether the closure of the ward could potentially lead to bed blocking, especially in the winter.
But the health board says it is working closely with Fife Council and others to address the needs of transitional patients, by transforming the services for the elderly.
The spokesman added: “Improving these community-based services will offer an alternative to hospital admission where possible, and enable early supported discharge for those who are admitted reducing the pressure on beds over winter.”