Health Minister calls on Fife to delay Out of Hours decision

Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport (Pic: John Devlin)
Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport (Pic: John Devlin)

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has urged that a decision on out of hours GP services in Fife be postponed to allow local community groups to have their say.

She said Thursday’s scheduled outcome should not be allowed until more community groups had raised their concerns.

At a debate in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Freeman said: “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.

“I will discuss this further with the chief officer of the health and social care partnership in Fife what needs to be done and what the time scales will be.”

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The decision, expected to be taken on Thursday, would potentially see out of hours GP provision removed from Glenrothes, Dunfermline and St Andrews, and only provided in Kirkcaldy for the whole of Fife.

Accident and emergency services would not be affected.

Fife’s Integrated Joint Board (IJB) said it was now seeking legal advice and clarity on the matter, and  would decide if the vote could still go ahead.

Michael Kellet, director of the health and social care partnership said: “We are aware of the Cabinet Secretary’s comments and will give them urgent consideration.”

St Andrews Community Council previously submitted a request to take part in the discussions around the provision of health care and on Thursday, Glenrothes Community Forum asked to be consulted using the Community Empowerment Act.