Pressure mounts on NHS Fife over patient care complaints

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POLITICAL pressure is mounting on NHS Fife over an increasing number of complaints about the care of patients at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital.

A meeting between the health board’s senior officials and Fife’s MSPs and MPs is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) and is expected to be dominated by the politicians’ concerns, many coming from unhappy constituents.

Calls have also been made for Alex Neil, the Scottish Government’s health minister, to hold a cross-party meeting to address the concerns and complaints.

Agenda

David Torrance, MSP for Kirkcaldy, said: “Due to the increasing number of complaints received at my office from constituents concerning their experiences with NHS Fife, I have written to James McGoldrick, chairman of NHS Fife Board, asking that the agenda of the NHS Fife joint informal meeting with MSPs on Friday be altered and dedicated to the recent performance levels of NHS Fife.

“In recent weeks, due to the high number of concerns raised about NHS Fife in and from people within my constituency, I feel that it is important that these issues are highlighted and brought to the attention of the management and board responsible for ensuring that NHS Fife is providing the best possible service to all.

“It is essential that the extra funding from the Scottish Government allocated for exactly this reason is being used in the best possible way.

“It would appear that NHS Fife needs to look more closely at how it is allocating this funding as its performance levels still seem to be falling.

“This coming Friday I will be looking for greater clarification on these issues and what action senior managers already have in place and intend to review in order to improve the levels of performance.”

Liz Smith, Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, will attend Friday’s meeting and has also called for the health minister to get involved in seeking solutions to the current difficulties at the hospital.

She said patients across Fife had raised a number of concerns regarding accessing services at Victoria Hospital and it was clear that there were a number of issues which were impacting on patient care.

“Every elected representative in Fife has, I believe, received communications from concerned patients and their families,” she said. “It is vital that communities across Fife have confidence in the services being provided by Victoria Hospital and I hope that a meeting can help to address these.

“Questions must be asked as to whether Fife currently has enough in-patient beds to meet the demands being placed on our health services locally.

Urgent

“I am seeking an urgent cross-party meeting with SNP Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing, Alex Neil MSP, NHS Fife and Fife representatives to seek action to address these concerns.”

Complaints about patient care – including the case of Andrew Sanaghan – have been brought to the attention of Mr Neil.

Responding on Mr Neil’s behalf, a Scottish Government spokesman said:“We cannot comment on individual cases.

“We have been very clear with NHS Fife that we expect them to meet their responsibilities of providing high quality, safe and effective care to all of their patients.

“The chair of the board has sought to assure us that they take their responsibility very seriously and have developed a robust action plan to address local issues which it intends to discuss with local MPs and MSPs later this week.

“We will continue to monitor their progress on delivering these.”

John Wilson, NHS Fife’s chief executive, did not comment on questions from the Fife Free Press asking whether NHS Fife accepted there had been difficulties in maintaining the required levels of care, and whether Fife currently had enough in-patient beds.

Mr Wilson said: “I can confirm that Mr Torrance MSP has been in touch to raise the concerns of his constituents about their experience at the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.

“These concerns have been added to the agenda for discussion at our next meeting with MPs and MSPs scheduled for Friday.”