Dunfermline needs essential A&E and maternity services back in the city – column

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As a regional MSP for mid Scotland and Fife I am proud that Dunfermline, Scotland’s newest city, can boast its city status with the best and the rest of Scotland.

The birthplace of Andrew Carnegie and resting place of Robert the Bruce, links to medieval Scotland with the stunning 12th century abbey and what’s left of Dunfermline Palace. As a child of the 80s, I proudly admit to having records by Barbra Dickson, Big Country, and I was convinced that Nazareth were singing about a “Bad Bad Boy and I’m going to steel your loaf!”

But unlike most of cities in Scotland, Dunfermline cannot boast basic medical care and offer its residents an A&E. Since 2012, residents in Dunfermline and west and central Fife areas have been forced to travel all the way to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy if they need to attend A&E, this is absolutely unacceptable for a modern city.

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Over the past decade since the A&E department has been removed from Queen Margaret Hospital, we have seen a dramatic increase in the population of west and central Fife, which has left local services such as schools, GPs and pharmacies and dentists struggling. With the continued growth of new build developments across Fife, I am delighted that more and more people are calling the Kingdom home, but that raises the issues of lack of infrastructure for basic amenities and pressure will continue to mount on our local services.

Roz McCall MSP and Cllr Gavin Ellis outside the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline (Pic: Submitted)Roz McCall MSP and Cllr Gavin Ellis outside the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline (Pic: Submitted)
Roz McCall MSP and Cllr Gavin Ellis outside the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline (Pic: Submitted)

As a local councillor I have spent years fighting to bring essential services back to Queen Margaret. In 2023, people from Dunfermline should not have to travel hours on the bus to receive emergency treatment, but sadly that is what is happening time and time again.

Myself and my Scottish Conservative colleagues have continued to highlight the error of this decision -unfortunately the SNP government repeatedly ignores the needs of local people. Over the years we have seen the devastating aftermath of the Scottish Government’s decision to remove A&E t from the Queen Margaret Hospital, with births taking place at the side of the road and people being taken by ambulance to the Victoria, often with critical illnesses, all because they were refused entry as the service was no longer offered locally.

That is why we are calling for the urgent reinstatement of full A&E and maternity services at the Queen Margaret Hospital.

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We feel that the already minimal services available at the Queen Margaret are now stretched to their limits, with minor injuries not treating children and closing at 8:00pm and the maternity unit only dealing with ante-natal procedures. This is not only insulting to the people of Fife but is highly dangerous.

Dunfermline is a city, and basic local services should be a given. The people of Dunfermline deserve the services afforded to other major cities across Scotland, and as Scottish Conservative we will continue to fight for the services that residents deserve.

Over the coming months and years, we will be working hard to demand a return of A&E and full maternity services to the Queen Margaret Hospital. Both locally and nationally, we will be highlighting this issue and pushing the Scottish Government to take action on this issue.

The people of Fife cannot wait another decade for the Scottish Government to finally act, and the warm words of the SNP government on this issue are cold comfort to local Fifers. For our part, we are willing to put politics aside, and work with councillors and MSPs of all political parties to solve this critical problem.

> Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Fife Free Press.