MORE doctors, nurses and health professionals are being recruited by NHS Fife as part of a £2.733m investment to improve patient care.
The move follows a number of complaints from patients and their families about services at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital, with many concerns being raised by Fife’s MSPs and MPs at a meeting with the health board’s senior management.
The additional funding will pay for the equivalent of 10 full-time consultants, and 20 nursing, health professionals and support staff covering a range of specialties including urology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, respiratory medicine, paediatrics, neurology and radiology. The recruitment process for these posts is already underway.
The board has already recruited an additional four accident and emergency consultants, bringing the total complement to 12, expanding the availability of senior medical cover into evenings and weekends.
John Wilson, chief executive of NHS Fife, said: “We are aware that not every patient experience has been as positive as we would have wished and we are sorry where that has been the case.
“We remain absolutely committed as an organisation to improving the patient experience and supporting our staff in delivering the very best care.
“We are already taking action to make improvements in areas where we have identified there to be additional support needs and are investing in further staffing across the system.
“We will continue to review progress in all areas to ensure that these developments are reflected positively in the patient experience.”
Mr Wilson and James McGoldrick, chairman of NHS Fife, met MSPs and MPs at their regular quarterly meeting last Friday.
As part of the discussion, assurances were provided over future care after concerns were raised by the politicians.
It was highlighted that NHS Fife had faced a challenging winter period with increased numbers of patients, many with complex health needs, coming through the system.
Winter capacity demands exceeded those planned for and placed added pressure on services, but additional support was being provided where necessary.
An improvement plan has been agreed which includes an increase the number of nurses and support staff in the acute medical assessment unit, and the development of skills and training of staff, particularly in the care of elderly patients and those with dementia.
Hourly care and comfort rounds will be carried out to ensure patients’ needs are being met.
And, while NHS Fife has a good track record of achieving waiting times targets, particularly the 18 week referral to treatment target where it continues to meet the 90 per cent target, it has recognised the need to increase its staff to meeting rising demands.
Another step to improve services for patients is ‘Hospital at Home’, an alternative to in-patient treatment for older people, which is currently being rolled out across the whole of Fife after a successful pilot in west Fife.