Axe falls on Glenrothes out of hours service

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An attempt to save the out of hours GP service in Glenrothes has failed.

At the integrated joint board (IJB) on Friday, Fife councillor Fiona Grant moved a motion to keep the service in the town after a proposal was tabled that would see out of hours retained in Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, wth limited hours in St Andrews.

Cllr Grant, who is also convener of the Glenrothes area committee, said that it was unacceptable to see the removal of the service from the town.

She added: “We are told it can’t be in Glenrothes because there is no A&E service there – but there isn’t one in St Andrews or at Queen Margaret, and they still have the service.”

She had the backing of Glenrothes area committee which noted a town of 50,000 would be left with no out of hours cover – a move Councillor John Beare branded as “not acceptable.”

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But IJB members rejected the proposal, after being told that the new model was based on what was realistically deliverable as a “safe, sustainable service”.

Claire Dobson, NHS Fife devision manager, told the board: “The policy is supporting peoples access to out of hours care in the most appropriate way.

“This redesign has never been about money, but the safe, sustainable delivery of care.

“We  haven’t been looking at the out of hours in isolation, but as a Fife whole. It was about getting to a place where we have a model fit for the future.”

The approved agreement will see out of hours removed from Glenrothes.

Services will be available in the evenings, overnight and weekends at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy and Queen Margaret in Dunfermline, while St Andrews will retain evening and some weekend coverage.

Home visits will also be available to those unable to make it to a centre, and a new transport policy has been created to allow a taxi service to take those who are unable to make it to a centre.

Michael Kellet, chairman of the IJB, commented, “I’m really pleased that a decision has been approved and we can now move forward to deliver a safe and flexible model of care that meets the needs of a changing population. This has been a long process, and we appreciate the input and patience from the public to allow us time to get this right. “