12,000 sign hospice beds petition

Claire Baker MSP
Claire Baker MSP

A petition launched by the Fife Labour Party has attracted 12,000 signature of support in just a few weeks.

The group believes NHS Fife is considering reducing hospice beds in Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, which would then have a detrimental knock-on effect to Victoria Hospice in Kirkcaldy.

While NHS Fife has not denied the claim, it has issued a statement to the Gazette confirming hospice wards were under review.

Claire Baker MSP this week said: “In the space of just over a month more than 12,000 people have asked NHS Fife to withdraw its proposal to reduce the number of hospice beds in Fife.

“For those thousands who signed the petition, and the tens of thousands more in Fife who have been affected by cancer, it’s important that the right kind of support is provided for those undergoing end-of-life care, and that support take place in the best possible surroundings.

“Of course, there is pressure on NHS Fife to find savings, and I appreciate the difficult economic choices it faces.

“I am today calling on NHS Fife to clarify their position and withdraw this threat to the number of hospice beds in Fife. The ‘No to Cuts in Hospice Bed’s’ petition has over 12000 signatures in just a few weeks and demonstrates the tremendous value people in Fife place on hospice care. NHS Fife should listen to their voices.

“It’s now time for NHS Fife to stop dragging its heels and reverse the proposed cut to beds for people who need end-of-life care. This is a proposal that should never have seen the light of day, the people of Fife are now making their views clear and NHS Fife must respond”

NHS Fife announced this week that the report on the future of Hospice Care which was due to come to the November meeting of the Operations Committee was not complete and would not now come forward until the January meeting.

Ms Baker is writing the NHS Chairman Professor James McGoldrick seeking clarification on the board’s position and urging him to bring to an end the uncertainty over hospice provision in Fife.