Anger at cancer hospice bed cuts prompts Glenrothes friends to sign petition

Signing up: left, Aileen Davis,  Vicky Humbert and Mary Morton
Signing up: left, Aileen Davis, Vicky Humbert and Mary Morton

An angry and worried group of Glenrothes people have got together to sign a petition campaigning to save cancer hospice beds in Fife.

The group, led by respected local resident Mary Morton, added their names to the already 3500-strong signatures on the petition which is set to be presented to NHS Fife by the area’s Labour party. Labour believes hospice beds are about to be cut in the Kingdom, leaving cancer sufferers to die at home instead.

Since reading the story in the Gazette, readers have been getting in touch to find out where to sign the petition which was only launched two weekends ago. But it has already attracted an astonishing number of signatures in support of the campaign.

Reader Mary told the Gazette: “When I heard there was talk of losing the hospice beds it made me very angry. Every day someone is diagnosed with cancer of some type or another. We need more hospice places, not less.”

Mary herself is living with cancer, but with regular visits to the day unit at the hospice at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, she has been able to remain active and positive.

She said: “I get so much out of the day unit at Kirkcaldy. It’s not just about a bed, they need people to talk to and the support.”

There are fears hospice beds in Dunfermline are to be cut which in turn would affect Kirkcaldy and surrounding areas.

Said Mary: “We need more hospice units and they shouldn’t be taking money from us. Why take from the really vulnerable people?”

Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Claire Baker said: “It’s important that those suffering from terminal illness receive the right care in appropriate surroundings.

“I appreciate that in difficult economic circumstances there is pressure on NHS Fife to find budget savings. However, cost cutting measures that result in a reduction in the number of hospice beds are not the answer. That’s why thousands of people have already signed Fife Labour’s petition asking NHS Fife to rethink their plans.”

A statement received yesterday by the Gazette from NHS Fife’s Caroline Inwood, director of nursing, said: “NHS Fife is currently engaged in a piece of work to identify appropriate models of care for the future provision of hospice and palliative care services in Fife. This work is not yet complete and therefore it is not possible to comment on what the final report may recommend.”