Marie Curie has announced that it is to stop providing palliative care services in Fife.
The organisation, which provides care and support to people living with terminal illnesses, said it will stop providing its nursing service in Fife when its contract ends in May 2018.
Marie Curie said it had made the decision not to submit a bid for the tender for the palliative care services lot, which is issued by Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, because it is concerned that “the proposed contract might result in a reduced quality of care for people with palliative care needs and their families in Fife”.
Richard Meade, head of policy and public affairs for Marie Curie in Scotland, explained that the organisation felt the “economic values applied in the tender are unrealistic and restrictive”, citing a number of reasons.
He said: “Marie Curie’s commitment to the provision of palliative care in Fife remains but we believe the current contract poses too high a risk and would not reflect the high quality of care that we currently provide.”
Fife MSP Alex Rowley says he has discussed the issues with the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership and has written to councillors in Fife asking them to hold the partnership to account and question the concerns being raised.
He said: “This is a worrying development where it would seem cuts to budgets are being passed on in these vital services.
“End of life care and support should be of the best standard and quality and when we have an organisation with the expertise and experience of Marie Curie telling us that this new contract cannot deliver this then we need to demand that the managers in health and social care think again.”
North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins said: “I am very concerned that people with terminal illness in Fife, and their families, may lose out on access to the crucial palliative care services currently delivered by the wonderful charity Marie Curie if it has to withdraw services in the Kingdom.
“I will be writing to Fife Council and NHS Fife, who run Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, to raise this on behalf of constituents.
“Marie Curie has strong links with north east Fife and I know the impact of losing the support they give, would be devastating for so many families.”
Claire Dobson, divisional general manager (West) with Fife Health and Social Care Partnership stated: “Regardless of who is delivering services, the provision of high quality care which ensures each individuals personal dignity throughout their journey is our first priority.
“This is never more so when it comes to the sensitivity of palliative care and the choices of service users and their carers.
“As with all our service providers, we value greatly the working relationship with Marie Curie and so it is disappointing that we’ve not had the opportunity to discuss their concerns.
“We are actively seeking urgent discussions with them in order to find a more positive way forward.”