NHS Fife putting staff parking before patients welfare - claim GP staff

Kirkcaldy Health Centre managers - Issy MacDougal, Gwen Baillie, Cindy Low and Christine Watt.
Kirkcaldy Health Centre managers - Issy MacDougal, Gwen Baillie, Cindy Low and Christine Watt.

The dispute over parking rights at Kirkcaldy Health Centre has intensified with accusations that NHS Fife is putting staff parking before the welfare of patients.

Practice managers at Kirkcaldy Health Centre in Whytemans Brae, which caters for around 20,000 patients, told the Fife Free Press that they have been inundated by complaints from those using the centre because of the impact of staff at the adjacent Victoria Hospital beiong allowed to use the centre parking spaces.

They have been incensed by what they claim is NHS Fife’s lack of understanding and desire to find a solution.

“As practice managers the care of patients is paramount to us, but when we met with NHS Fife in September to discuss the problem, health representatives only wanted to talk in terms of staff parking allowance,” said Christine Watt.

“The parking used to be monitored, and, while busy, it worked relatively well.

“But since the revised parking provisions introduced earlier this year, the situation has become unbearable and is impacting on our doctors who are struggling to deal with patients turning up late for apointments through no fault of their own,” added Cindy Low.

In a letter to a complainant obtained by the Press, Paul Hawkins, NHS Fife chief executive wrote: “I need to make it perfectly clear that NHS Fife’s policy is to allow any of our NHS Fife staff to park free of charge at any of the NHS Fife sites. At the current time, NHS Fife has no intention of changing this.”

Mr Hawkins added that there was no legal entitlement for dedicated patient car parking spaces and that health bosses were still a waiting a response to an offer made to health centre GPs to lease the car park.

However, claims that a lease offer is on the table has been refuted by health centre managers.

“We met in September to discuss the problems but have heard nothing back from NHS Fife since,” said Christine.

“The claim that we haven’t responded to an offer of a lease deal is simply not true.

“Furthermore, other solutions discussed such as an intercom, barrier system orcharging patients are just impracticable or unfair.”

Around 1200 patients have already signed the GP’s petition calling on NHS Fife bosses to rethink the car park policy.