Bid to keep Out-Of-Hours GP service is rejected

Campaigners outside Fife Council HQ.
Campaigners outside Fife Council HQ.

A last ditch attempt to keep the the Out-Of-Hours GP service in north east Fife has been rejected as health bosses press forward with a proposal for wide-ranging reforms.

Taybridgehead councillor Tim Brett had urged members of the health and social care partnership to include an option to retain evening, overnight and weekend cover at St Andrews hospital as part of proposals to go out for public consultation.

But the move was voted down in favour of two options that would either see the Primary Care Emergency Service (PCES) centralised at Victoria hospital in Kirkcaldy,or centred at both the Vic and Queen Margaret hospital in Dunfermline.

Cllr Brett argued that people in north east Fife have “significant geographical issues” in being asked to attend a service if it was centralised had urged members to include an option for the retention of the service in St Andrews

It was revealed at a public meeting in St Andrews last week that local GPs had offered to provide the service for north east Fife, but rejected to cover the whole of the Kingdom, and as a result their offer had been turned down.

Following the meeting, North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie made a plea to Fife Health & Social Care Partnership, which made the decision to close the service between midnight-8am at three Fife hospitals, to let local GPs provide out-of-hours care.

Mr Rennie said: “A powerful case was made for a co-ordinated north east Fife solution which fully utilises the services of local GPs who are willing to continue their work in the area.

“St Andrews may be a relatively small town, however, the demand on the healthcare provision is high from university staff, students, a constant flow of tourists.

The decision almost certainly leaves no future of Out-Of-Hours services at centred at St Andrews and Glenrothes.

The decision was taken to delay the consultation process for four weeks in order to redraft the document to make more understandable for memebers of the public.