Fears that closure of Out-Of-Hours service at Glenrothes and St Andrews is “a done deal”

Campaigners outside Fife Council's headquarters ahead of yeaterday's crucial meeting.
Campaigners outside Fife Council's headquarters ahead of yeaterday's crucial meeting.

The launch of a public consultation that could result in Fife losing up to three of its Out-Of-Hours emergency care services at Glenrothes, Dunfermline and St Andrews hospitals, has been delayed.

The Integrated Joint Board of health professionals and councillors yesterday approved a redesign of the health care service but voted to halt the consultation process for four weeks after the document which outlines for the public the options for change was criticised for its “lack of clarity”.

“There is an urgent public and financial need to go forward with this process as soon as possible but there has to be more clarity, the service, we are told, is unfit for purpose as it is we need to get on with it,” said the Conservative Cllr Tony Miklinski who, with the support of SNP councillors, successfully tabled an amendment to delay the process for four weeks.

A bid, seconded by Labour Cllr David Graeme, for a three month postponement of the consultation process did not gather enough support anong board members.

Furthermore, a letter submitted by NHSFife chairman Tricia Marwick, who has until now, remained silent on the wide-reaching proposals, stating that NHSFife’s clinical governance committee needed more detail on a number of key aspects, was also rejected.

Health bosses will now redraft the document in a bid to make it more understandable for the public.

Neither of the proposals due to be put before the public include Out-Of-Hours services at Glenrothes or St Andrews,increasing fears that the service will soon be centralised.

“I’m saddened by this latest development, said Glenrothes councillor Altany Craik.

“There’s no assurance that the Out-Of-Hours overnight service will be reinstated, it looks like a done deal to me.”

In an exhaustive three hour meeting to discuss radical plans for a shake up of health and social care provision across the Kingdom, a latch ditch bid to save the Out-Of-Hours service in north east Fife was also rejected.

Taybridgehead councillor Tim Brett said 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 but was voted down.

Partnership chairman Michael Kellet alternative views, including those wanting to keep out-of-hours GPs in St Andrews and Glenrothes, would be taken into account. However, he made it clear the options being presented to the public were considered the only sustainable choices for the service going forward.