Fifers are set to have their say on the future of the GP out of hours service at a series of consultation workshops across the region.
The controversial temporary closure of the service in Glenrothes, Dunfermline and St Andrews, which forced patients and relatives to travel to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, sparked a huge backlash in a number of communities.
Now, Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership, the body with ultimate responsibility for any decision on the fate of the service, has organised a host of open workshops to get feedback on its proposals.
These include keeping overnight services in Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy – or bringing everything to the Vic.
Local politicians have now urged Fifers to attend, scrutinise the plans – and have their say.
Jenny Gilruth MSP, SNP, has been a strong critic of the temporary closures put in place to try to tackle a staff shortage.
She said she was disappointed it had taken the board so long – 123 days – to set up the workshops, but added: “I am glad Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership have now published their proposed list of public consultation events. I will work proactively to ensure the events in my constituency are well attended.
“I am, however, disappointed it has taken 123 days to get to this point. Engaging the public is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s transformative agenda for health.
“Retrospective engagement is now proposed, but I remain concerned it is being conflated with a wider local agenda.
“Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership need to publicise the exact purpose of these events with absolute transparency. If the partnership plans to permanently close Glenrothes Hospital’s GP out of hours service, then it should be up front about it - and it should consult specifically and exclusively on that service.”
Alex Rowley MSP, Labour, said; “There was widespread concern when the overnight services were withdrawn from the Queen Margaret, Glenrothes and St Andrews Hospitals and it is important that the public get involved in the consultation.
“The consultation as well as considering Out of Hours Care, is also proposing to set up of Community Health and Well Being Hubs and is considering the options for the future of Community Hospitals and Care Beds.
“None of us know when we or our families may need these services so it is important that we know what is being proposed and that we have an input into planning for the future of so many vital local community health services”.
In 2013 Glenrothes Hospital’s out of hours service faced closure by the previous NHS Fife Board - a move which was eventually overturned after a massive p[ublica campaign loed by Lindsay Roy MP and Tricia Marwick MSP.
The local workshops are:
Thursday, August 23: Fife Voluntary Action Centre, East Fergus Place, Kirkcaldy, 6.45pm to 8.30pm
Tuesday, August 28: CISWO, Glenrothes, 6.45pm to 8.30pm
Tuesday, September 4: County Buildings, Cupar, 6.45pm to 8.30pm
Tuesday, September 11: County Buildings, Cupar, 11.15am to 1.00pm
Wednesday, September 12: Fife House, Glenrothes, 11.15am to 1.00pm
Tuesday, September 18: The Centre, Leven, 6:45 pm to 8:30 pm
Thursday September 20: Waid Community Campus, Anstruther, 6.45pm to 8.30pm
Monday, September 24: Town Hall, St Andrews, 6.45pm to 8.30pm
Tuesday, September 25: Locgelly Centre, 6.45pm to 8.30pm