Boost for St Andrews’ out of hours campaign

St Andrews Hospital.
St Andrews Hospital.

The Scottish Health Secretary has confirmed that funds are available which could bolster plans for a new out of hours service in St Andrews.

Fife MSP Mark Ruskell asked MSP Jeanne Freeman at the Scottish Parliament about funding which could help deliver a new model.

Last month, the Citizen revealed proposals drawn up by the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, which could allow St Andrews to retain its out of hours service.

The draft proposal, if given the go ahead, would see a mixture of GPs and clinicians based at St Andrews Hospital on weekdays up until 10pm, on Saturday between 8am and midnight, and Sunday between 10am and 8pm. Clinicians would provide a car-based service for home visits, however, St Andrew’s Urgent Care Centre would be opened up when a treatment centre appointment is required.

Speaking at Holyrood, Mr Ruskell asked: “A new multi-disciplinary model is emerging that could save the services that we have all been fighting for, but it will require additional resources. Will the cabinet secretary commit to providing additional funding for training prescribing pharmacists and advanced nurse practitioners to deliver that new, modern model for out-of-hours delivery across Fife?”

In response, Ms Freeman said: “I am aware of the proposals that are in hand. We have additional funds available to help both prescribing nurses and pharmacists in those matters. We will look at the proposal when it comes to me specifically.”

Dr Angela Anderson, chair of St Andrews Out of Hours Group, which has worked closely with the FHSCP on the design of a new model to retain the service, said: “We are very pleased that the Health Secretary is taking such a close interest in the work being done to redesign the St Andrews out of hours service. We are also delighted that she has additional funds available to help train prescribing pharmacists and advanced nurse practitioners to deliver OOH services across Fife.

“We look forward to this training beginning as soon as possible so that the newly designed OOH service in St Andrews can be introduced and the other OOH services in Fife better supported.”

Penelope Fraser, vice-chair of St Andrews Community Council, which made the successful participation request to work with the FHSCP to retain a St Andrews OOH service, added: “We applaud the far-sightedness of the Health Secretary and look forward to seeing sustainable solutions for OOH care in Fife.”