Decision on future of out of hours service in Glenrothes is postponed

Glenrothes Hospital
Glenrothes Hospital

A decision on the future of the out-of-hours service in Glenrothes has been postponed.

The IJB is due to meet tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss the outcome of the Joined Up Care consultation and was expected to make a decision on the service.

However, any decision on the future of the service has now been delayed.

The consultation had made two proposals for the service: at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital and Dunfermline’s Queen Margaret Hospital, or just a centralised one at the former.

The report to IJB members notes that option two, to keep both Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline open overnight, was the preferred option in the consultation.

It also recommends that members note the concerns of the people of north east Fife and commission officers to “undertake an addendum to the option appraisal”.

However, there is no recommendation regarding Glenrothes.

The decision to postpone the decision follows comments from the Health Secretary last week.

At a Holyrood debate, MSP Jeane Freeman said it would be impossible to make the decision now, urging for the decision to be postponed to allow community groups to have their say on the service.

This was after Glenrothes Community Forum became the second group in Fife to submit a formal participation request to get involved in the discussion over the service.

The Royal Burgh of St Andrews Community Council did the same last month.

Ms Freeman said at the meeting that she understood “the concerns of the people in Fife about the current situation.”

“In my mind, the IJB will not be in a position to make a decision,” she added, “because these requests have to be heard and determined by NHS Fife in a proper and appropriate manner, but without taking too long to do it.”

She added: “An exchange of information needs to take place which indicates to me that it is not actually possible (to make the decision) in a week’s time.

The town’s MSP, Jenny Gilruth, also spoke at the discussion at Holyrood last week.

The MSP criticised the ‘opaque’ nature of the public consultation process, which also included community health and well-being hubs and community hospital and intermediate care bed redesign.

Ms Gilruth was also critical of the Equality Impact Assessment, stating: “Ahead of today’s debate I wrote to the director of Fife’s H&SCP seeking more information. Who did they speak to in these categories? How did they identify risk? When was this work completed?

“These questions have not been answered. The EQIA document states it was started on March 28 – some 12 days before the services apparently ‘fell over’.

“If the service had to shut on an emergency basis, how on earth did the health and social care partnership have time to start an EQIA?

“Why was it not provided when elected members asked for it?

“The truth, of course, is that it was not conducted in March. Nor was it conducted in April. As the director confirms to me in his letter, the EQIA was not approved until the September 14.”