End of the road for Netherlea Hospital?

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NetherLea hospital looks set to close after the Glenrothes and north east Fife community health partnership (CHP) recommended that all inpatient services at the Newport hospital be shut down.

The final decision on the hospital’s future will now be taken by Fife NHS after only one member of the CHP, councillor Fiona Grant, voted against closing the facility.

A report prepared for the meeting recommended the closure of Netherlea despite calls from local community groups and councillors for reassurances to be given that adequate alternative provisions are already in place.

Councillor Fiona Grant, who also works as a GP in Glenrothes, said: “I don’t feel there was sufficient reason given at least for not delaying the closure. The main reason given against a delay was so the current staff at Netherlea can apply for jobs in the new set up.

“The position of the staff was given a much higher priority than it should have been.

“The real point of any change is to benefit the care of the wider community and I’m not convinced the new procedures and ways of working are ready yet.

“I was not prepared to take the leap of faith that was being asked of the Partnership”

PRAISED

An initial review of inpatient care carried out earlier this year suggested Netherlea could be closed with facilities and resources consolidated among the other hospitals across north east Fife.

The report before the CHP this week also outlined how new Intermediate Care Service would work through using rapid assessment clinics and a rehabilitation service at the St Andrews Community Hospital with a satellite service at Adamson hospital.

Less intensive treatment will be carried out through existing general practice and community teams.

While staff currently working at Netherlea were praised for providing a “very high level of care”, the report said that their is “limited scope to fully meet quality standards”

SERVICES

It also said the full range of rehabilitation services are not available within Netherlea, with the building’s layout restricting the effective monitoring of patients and some that some facilities do not conform to infection control and buildings guidance.

Significant issues relating to the drains and heating system are said to need repairs costing between £600,000 and £650,000.

At the end of the discussion, all CHP members other than Fiona Grant voted in favour of the reports recommendation to close all inpatient provision at Netherlea Hospital.

Afterwards, Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett said he remained unconvinced that adequate support was available to allow Netherlea to shut.

“I am deeply disappointed and frustrated,” he explained.

“It is clear that the new staff are not yet in place and therefore they are hoping everything will be all right - but there is no guarantee.

“It was even said at one point that the petition that was handed in contained postcodes that were clearly from Dundee and yet everyone in Tayport and Wormit has a Dundee postcode - did they not know that?”