Plug pulled on vital stroke support service in Fife

Group members demonstrate Kirkcaldy firm Peachy Keen's  specialist equipment before the group's demise.
Group members demonstrate Kirkcaldy firm Peachy Keen's specialist equipment before the group's demise.

A vital and long running support service for stroke victims in Fife has ended due to the lack of funding.

The Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) run group, which supported those with post stroke communication problems , has ended its regular St Brycedale meetings in Kirkcaldy after 13 years.

Similar groups in St Andrews, Leven and Dunfermline have also now been disbanded due to the lack of cash.

The decision to close the support service has left staff deeply shocked and upset, one who asked not to be identified told the Fife Free Press that despite the service functioning without the support of external funding for nearly a decade, the closure was “hugely disappointing and would inevitably leave a number of users void of the kind of support they needed and relied upon”.

However CHSS have confirmed it will continue to provide support for those discharged from hospital having had a stroke through the Fife Stroke Nurse Service and through stroke groups across Fife that are affiliated to CHSS.

Barbara Dalgetty, head of rehabilitation support at CHSS said: “We have made repeated attempts over the years to secure funding for our communication support work in Fife, the most recent being over the past few months.

“Regrettably CHSS is no longer in a position to continue to support this model of service delivery without external funding, so we are having to look at new ways to support this group of people living with a stroke.”

“We recognise the challenges faced by the new integrated health and social care joint board in Fife, and the fact that many more people in Fife are living for longer with a stroke or other similar long term conditions.

“We are therefore looking options for develop a new Rehabilitation Support Service in Fife which will work with people living with heart and lung health conditions as well as stroke.”

She added that preliminary discussions were on-going but estimated that it would take at least year before a launch of any new service could be expected.

“Such a service would be able to effectively support people with post-stroke communications difficulties, in the context of a broader range of rehabilitation support,” she added.

A spokesman for CHSS praised the staff and volunteers for the “enthusiastic and committed service” over the last 13 years.

They added that once drawn up, a new model for supporting people across Fife with cardiac,respiratory or stroke conditions would prove to be both more cost effective and more responsive to the needs of people living with multiple conditions.

A number of meeting to discuss the options now available to those relying on the service have now been scheduled to take place early in the new year.

They include StBryce Kirk Centre, Kirkcaldy on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 10am -11am and Dell Farquharson Centre, Nethertown Broad Street, Dunfermline on Wednesday, January 18, 10am-11am.