NETHERLEa Hospital in Newport is set to be closed in a bid to save NHS Fife £250,000 a year.
While the NHS has not officially confirmed the move, a list of answers to questions submitted by the local community council and Councillor Tim Brett reveals a review by Glenrothes and North East Fife Community Health Partnership (CHP) has determined the Victorian building is no longer fit for purpose.
It costs £650,000 a year to run, but would cost a further £650,000 to refurbish its ground floor alone with huge additional costs if the building was to be reconfigured to meet current standards.
If closed, the money currently used to run 10-bed Netherlea could, the CHP says, provide assessment and treatment for approximately 1600 patients a year instead.
A final decision on the expected closure is due to be rubber-stamped in October as the CHP moves to providing “new models of care to prevent unneccessary admissions”.
According to the statement, people requiring in-patient care would be treated at the new St Andrews community hospital, Cupar’s recently refurbished Adamson Hospital, or Glenrothes Hospital.
The majority of people, however, would receive ‘intermediate care’ in their own homes from locally-based teams comprising nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and health care support workers who will work closely with specialist nursing and medical service teams, as well as social workers.
The CHP says this method of care will also mean people can be discharged from hospital earlier, changing the whole focus of health care delivery from ‘institutional’ to ‘community-based’.
Groups concerned by the proposed closure of Netherlea, including Newport, Wormit and Forgan Community Council and Netherlea’s League of Friends, attended a meeting at St Andrews Hospital on Monday night to hear more about the plans.
Councillor Tim Brett, who also attended the meeting, said: “We welcomed the fact that more information was provided, but there is still a feeling that there is a lack of detail relating to the specifics of what will happen to Netherlea and its patients.
“Hopefully the meeting in Newport’s Blyth Hall on Wednesday (September 7) will provide more details.”
Commenting on what would happen to Netherlea and the 70 patients it currently treats, the CHP said everyone would be cared for until discharge.
It is expected that after a certain date all new in-patient admissions would then be referred to St Andrews, Cupar or Glenrother hospitals.
Commenting on the development of “modern purpose-built inpatient facilities” at St Andrews and Adamson hospitals, the CHP said, “the emerging view is that facilities at Netherlea may no longer be required.”
Regarding the potential sale of the building which was gifted to the NHS, the CHP said if no other health body required it, it would be placed on the open market.