Possible lifeline for St Andrews’ out of hours service

A solution has been found which could allow St Andrews to retain its out of hours service, the Citizen understands.
St Andrews Hospital.St Andrews Hospital.
St Andrews Hospital.

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.

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However, the Citizen understands these details are still being ironed out and could change.

It is thought this solution will be put to the Integrated Joint Board (IJB) in mid April for approval.

“It will be a major step forward if people in north east Fife won’t have to travel to Kirkcaldy to receive out of hours primary healthcare,” said MSP Willie Rennie.

“If this proposal is agreed by the board in April it would mean the original plans to close the facility in St Andrews Hospital will be abandoned. That would be great news.

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“This service would be possible and sustainable because the minor injuries service and minor illness service would be combined; the evening service would start later and finish earlier when demand is typically lower; an in/out overnight service would be adopted freeing up clinicians to meet demand for home visits; and there would greater use of advanced nurse practitioners and other clinicians.

“Working together with the community and health professionals, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership has come up with an innovative solution that I hope the board is able to accept.”

Dr Angela Anderson, chair of the St Andrews Out of Hours Group, said: “We are delighted that an option to retain the out of hours service at St Andrews Hospital is now emerging.

“It is the result of hours of input by volunteers, community councils and healthcare professionals over many months and on numerous fronts. We thank every single person who contributed to the petition, postcard campaign, emails and meetings.

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“The model we have come up still needs some work - some details require clarification, it has to be formally sanctioned by the members of the IJB and it will be important to monitor and review it once it is operational.”

The Fife Health and Social Care Partnership will consider the urgent care service on April 26.