No extra cash as Fife health bosses look to ’make do’ to run its buildings

NHS Fife's board approved a new property and estate management strategy at a meeting on Tuesday.
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Alistair Morris, acting chair, said the message from the Scottish Government was clear - there is no additional funding on the horizon so the health authority must make do with what it has. On Tuesday, it essentially agreed to focus on the properties and buildings it already has instead of looking at new capital projects.

Across the Kingdom, NHS Fife has 45 sites in its estate - 65% is in satisfactory condition; 27% in poor condition; and 7% is in excellent condition.

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Strategy papers also revealed that NHS Fife's estate has £100 million of back-log maintenance costs.

NHS Fife has a huge estate and will have to 'make do' as no new funding is available (Pic: Fife Free Press)NHS Fife has a huge estate and will have to 'make do' as no new funding is available (Pic: Fife Free Press)
NHS Fife has a huge estate and will have to 'make do' as no new funding is available (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Neil McCormick, director of property and asset management, said: “Funding is currently constrained. In addition, NHS Fife has the legacy of an existing ageing estate to continue to maintain and manage. These constraints may impact the speed and scale of our ambition, although we are confident that over the long-term, our flexible approach and collaborative outlook with local and national partners will produce positive outcomes.”

The strategy:

The NHS Fife Property and Asset Strategy 2023/24 aims to “contribute significantly towards quality and patient care while making a “significant positive impact” on the NHS workforce. Climate emergency and sustainability is also a top priority

“Our directorate’s remit is diverse, but our main objective is to provide safe and appropriate facilities to facilitate patient care and to help with the day-to-day running of our services across Fife,” Mr McCormick said.

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Across primary care, NHS Fife has several key property priorities. The authority is pushing for new health and wellness centres in Lochgelly and Kincardine.

“We have progressed the designs and business cases for the Lochgelly and Kincardine Health and Wellbeing Centres as far as we can and await capital funding from Scottish Government (forecast to be received in 2026),” the strategy said.

NHS Fife has also recognised the need for long-term major investment in primary care premises in Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, and North-East Fife.

“Developments in these areas will help to address existing pressures, space required for additional workforce, and the expansion of housing through the Local Development Plan,” the strategy explained.

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Mr McCormick said acute services were “significantly impacted” by the pandemic, affecting the ability to meet patient demand. Changes and investment across NHS Fife services will help provide a greater level of sustainability in acute care.

“It is anticipated that changes to our acute services will be accommodated within our existing estate at Victoria Hospital, Kirkaldy and Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline with the emphasis being around evolution of our acute estate rather than revolution,” the strategy explained.

Mr McCormick said Victoria Hospital is at a stage in its life-cycle where “ there is a need to plan how the site might be developed into the future.”

“To enable this, we have commissioned and completed a master-plan development framework for the site which will help to control how we meaningfully protect and enhance site development moving into the future,” Mr McCormick’s strategy said.

The strategy also emphasises creativity and innovation.

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“Estates are going to make do with what we have and maintain rather than rebuild while trying to make sure our properties are safe and fit for purpose,” Mr Morris said. I think there will be encouragement for us to look at our estate for multi-purpose. I can easily see us being in a position where we're sharing a building with Fife Council for example.”