Meeting and apology demanded as funding issues delay two Fife health centres
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It was one of two Fife towns which discovered this week that it may have to wait until much later in this decade to get the facilities due to funding issues. The other is in planned for Kincardine.
NHS Fife has been pursuing plans to build the centres, but said the Scottish Government is adopting a phased approach to capital expenditure, meaning neither will be realised within the planned timescales.
Now Alex Rowley, MSP for Mid_Scotland and Fife, has called on Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for health, to meet to discuss the issues.And he wants a public apology from politicians who said the centres would be open by now.
Initial agreement was approved by Scottish Government in January 2020, with outline business cases submitted in June 2022.
Following assessment from the Scottish Government’s Capital Investment Group additional detail was sought - and given - but now NHS Fife has been asked to re-submit the outline business cases with additional detail incorporated. That should be completed by April.
At the Scottish Parliament last week, Marie Todd MSP, Minister for public health, reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to replacing the centres, but confirmed that, due to the phased approach for funding capital projects, resources will likely be provided in the second half of this decade – it remains within the planned investment of £10 billion in health infrastructure over the next 10 years.
Dr Joy Tomlinson, NHS Fife’s director of public health, said: “This important project will enable us to bring together a range of health and wellbeing services – from GP practices and social care to community and voluntary services. This will allow us to deliver healthcare services with an emphasis on wellbeing and prevention in the heart of these communities.
“We have been advised that funding is unlikely to be released for the Lochgelly and Kincardine projects within the initially anticipated timescales and we remain in dialogue with the Scottish Government to clarify the project funding timeframe.”
NHS Fife said it was committed to delivering the centres and is continuing to work to ensure best value and to secure appropriate planning permissions.
Mr Rowley said he was shocked to hear of the delays.
He said: “Local people and indeed the staff of the medical centre are devastated and they have been badly let down. The response from Marie Todd was very bad news for the people of Lochgelly and extremely disappointing for the staff in the town.
“The impact of further delay in this much needed facility will result in poorer care for the people of Lochgelly; less integration of services and professions; and will add to the difficulties that the area has in recruitment and retention of GPs and other staff.
“It is also bad news for other communities who are also desperately in need of new health facilities, as Lochgelly was said to be the first priority and first in line, so goodness knows when others might get done that are also in a state of not being fit for purpose. Communities across Fife are being let down. “