4200 GOOD REASONS TO BACK 'THE VIC'

IN just two weeks more than 4,200 pledges of support for the Victoria Hospital have come flooding into the Fife Free Press office.

Our postbags have been bulging since we officially launched our campaign on February 1 urging Fife NHS Board to stick to the preferred option of Kirkcaldy hospital as the centre for trauma, critical care and maternity services for the whole of Fife.

But the completed slips and petitions which have already arrived in our newsroom are just the tip of the iceberg.

We expect hundreds more slips to pour in before the Wednesday deadline for consultation on the Right for Fife health review.

And there are countless petitions circulating in shops, surgeries, hospitals and other places in the area still to come in.

But we still need more of you to back your local hospital and this week is the last chance to complete and return one of our slips before Tuesday.

If you have petitions supporting the Victoria Hospital including those without the Fife Free Press logo please send them to us as soon as possible so we can hand them over to Fife NHS Board next week.

The campaign address is Fife Free Press (Hospital Campaign), 23 Kirk Wynd, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1EP.

The strong case for the Victoria Hospital as the centre for trauma, critical care and maternity services was reiterated this week.

At a public meeting on Tuesday it was argued that the Kirkcaldy hospital was closer for more Fifers than the Queen Margaret Hospital.

It was also said land had just become free which could be used for building necessary extensions.

Cathie Adamson, director of planning and co-ordination for Fife Primary Care NHS Trust, said: ''If Kirkcaldy is chosen people in the East Neuk in particular would be better served than they would if Queen Margaret Hospital was chosen. The travel distance time from west Fife villages to the Victoria is less than it is from the East Neuk to Queen Margaret.''

She also said that although it would cost around 10m more to develop the Victoria to the required standards than it would the Dunfermline hospital, accessibility had been deemed a higher priority than finance.

Questioned on the availability of ground, she added: ''It is feasible and we have confirmed that with architects and surveyors.

''The field beside the Victoria, which has been unavailable for years, recently became available. If approved, we would like to see if we could acquire all or part of that land.''

A further meeting was due to be held last night (Thursday) in Kirkcaldy High School at 7 p.m. The last before the consultation deadline is in the Adam Smith Theatre on Tuesday (February 19). Free tickets are required and can be obtained from the box office or by calling (01592) 200555 or (01334) 421102.