Fife Council’s Labour Group has this week launched a petition calling on NHS Fife to drop their plans to cut the number of hospice beds in Fife ’.
At a special meeting of NHS Fife Board on 31 May this year a proposal to close Ward 16 at Dunfermline Queen Margaret Hospital was tabled to achieve a saving of £322,000 by cutting the nine hospice beds within ward 16.
Later NHS Fife stated that the ward was not to be closed but that the palliative care services were to undergo a review.
Fife Council Labour leader Alex Rowley said: “We are launching this petition to build Fife wide support against what we believe is NHS Fife’s intentions to cut the number of hospice beds. While we have continued to support the development of quality services that gives people a choice if they choose to die at home, I am clear in my mind that any reduction in the numbers of hospice beds is unacceptable and will result in more people dying on wards rather than in specialised hospices where that extra and special care can be provided.”
The Fife Labour councillors have been joined by Clare Baker MSP who has warned that any cut in beds in Dunfermline will also have a major detrimental impact on the availability of hospice beds in Kikrcaldy and that people from Glenrothes and throughout central Fife will be less likely to find a bed if they need one.
Ms Baker told Fifetoday: “This is a Fife wide issue as the impact of any cut to beds in Dunfermline will reduce the overall capacity in Fife and thus make it harder for people who need that service to get a bed.
“I have been contacted by people who have lost a loved one and they are concerned at the proposed reduction in beds and I have talked to people who work in this area and there is a real concern about the threat to hospice beds.”