Fife’s Out-Of-Hours hospital closures to be debated in Scottish Parliament

Jenny Gilruth MSP received cross party support for her motion, with a debate now to take place later this month.
Jenny Gilruth MSP received cross party support for her motion, with a debate now to take place later this month.

The proposed closure of three Out-Of-Hours emergency services at hospitals across Fife is to the debated in the Scottish Parliament later this month.

Fife Health and Social Care Partnership is currently conducting a public consultation on the proposed permanent closure of the Primary Care Emergency Services (CES) at hospitals in Glenrothes, Dunfermline and St Andrews, which have remained closed since health bosses were forced to suspend services in April because of GP and staff shortages.

The Partnership has faced a barrage of criticism from both the public and local MSP’s calling for the closure plans to be reversed.

The Partnership want to centralise the Out-Of-Hours service at Victoria Hospital which has raised concerns from those not living close to Kirkclady.

Now, Jeane Freeman MSP, the recently appointed Minister for Health, Sport and Wellbeing, will respond to concerns when the issue is discussed at Holyrood as part of a members debate on October 23.

The news has been welcomed by Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP, whose motion calling for the debate attracted cross party support from a number of Fife MSPs including Labour’s Alex Rowley and Claire Baker, Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, Conservative Alexander Stewart, and fellow SNP MSP David Torrance.

Ms Gilruth said the decision to close the three services had been taken without public consultation and would result in an increase of health inequalities in Glenrothes and the surrounding area, forcing the public to pay for transport to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

She has also argued that the move to centralise the service at Victoria Hospital would impact heavily on staff at the Kirkcaldy site and has called upon health bosses to revers the closures with immediate effect.

Commenting on the news that the debate will now go ahead, Ms Gilruth said: “I’m delighted to have secured a members’ debate in the Scottish Parliament on GP out of hours closures.

“This issue continues to cause concern to many of my constituents in Glenrothes and beyond.

“Since July Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership has been holding a number of public consultation events, however it is clear the public remain confused as to what exactly is being proposed locally.

“Elected members will now have the opportunity to put their concerns on the record before the health secretary and that can only be good news for health services across Fife.”