Senior health officials have voted to retain the Out-of-Hours GP service at Glenrothes Hospital.
It was widely expected that health officials would confirm the closure of the service at the board meeting yesterday (Tuesday), but in a heated debate board members voted 11 -10 in favour of retaining the current service.
The Gazette has learned that Health Secretary for Alex Neil, who met on Monday with Glenrothes politicians MP Lindsay Roy and MSP Tricia Marwick, will have the final say on the future of the service.
It’s understood that Mr Neill has concerns over NHS Fife’s handling of the consultation process and the lack of an alternative provision at the hospital.
Glenrothes and Central Fife MP Lindsay Roy andlocal MSP Tricia Marwick said: “We are overjoyed that commonsense has prevailed and that NHS Fife board members have decided that this popular local service should remain.
“Clearly they have read between the lines and taken due cognisance of the views of the people that really matter – those who use, or might use, the service.
“Tricia and I led the campaign to retain it and we are delighted that it has proved successful.”
Officials had previously declared the service ‘unfit for purpose’ and have said while the closure would be ‘an inconvenience’ to the people of Glenrothes and its surrounding communities, it would be of benefit to the rest of Fife.
Controversial proposals to close the popular service first emerged a year ago and community activists and politicians have been heavily involved in opposing the plans.
It was suggested by NHS Fife that the service could be moved to Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital.
The final decision will be made by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil.
Concerns over handling of closure
Politicians Lindsay Roy and Tricia Marwick say they have evidence that they received reasurances from former NHS Fife chairman Professor James McGoldrick and chief executive John Wilson when they met in November 2012 that an alternative option of upgrading the Glenrothes service, by inclusion of a minor injuries clinic of similar enhancement would be included in the final NHS report. The final report presented to board members ahead of Tuesday’s meeting contained no such options.