Former Glenrothes MP Lindsay Roy has slammed health bosses branding their “cavalier” and “insensitive” closure of the town’s Out-Of -Hours service as an insult to the 80,000 people it is there to serve.
The former Labour MP, who in 2013, along with Tricia Marwick, the town’s SNP MSP and Presiding Officer at Holyrood, famously put political differences aside to spearhead the successful campaign to save the service from closure, said the people of Glenrothes and its surrounding communities must once again unite to oppose, what he called, the “first step in a planned demise” of Glenrothes hospital.
In an exclusive interview with the Gazette, Mr Roy said he was “truly shocked and angered” over Fife Health and Social Care Parnership’s decision close three Out-Of-Hours services at Glenrothes, Dunfermline and St Andrews because of a staffing crisis and fears over patient safety.
“The partnership director Michael Kellett has been particularly insensitive and cavalier in making this sudden announcement given the recent history of Out-Of-Hours GP service in Glenrothes,” said Mr Roy.
“Previous plans in 2013 by NHS senior managers for closure were thwarted by a well-coordinated and robust community campaign, which highlighted community need and dividends over centralisation in Kirkcaldy.
“I cannot believe that if the real cause is a shortage of medical staff to operate this highly valued service that it occurred overnight.
“So why were the apparent problems not raised with NHS Fife and the Glenrothes catchment in advance?
“Once again it would appear that the medical needs of the community are being overridden by administrative ‘efficiency’ and convenience.
“In 2013, the medical director who pushed hard for the closure did not take defeat well – claiming that he knew what was best for the service.
“Thankfully, the same arguments for retention still apply and I urge every single person across the area to back the new fight to keep the service in the local area.”
Mr Roy has also lambasted Mr Kellet for the lack of any public engagement over the closure or the deepening crisis over staffing levels and problems getting to GPs to cover, what he called a vital primary care service on the frontline of health care for around 80,000 residents in the area.
“This closure is putting lives at risk and everything possible must be done to reverse that.
“Campaigners must take inspiration from the success we achieved five years ago.
“The public are at the heart of this service and are the ones who must now once again fight for its survival in its Glenrothes location.
“And they will.”
Since the news of the closure broke last week, Mr Roy has already met with the town’s current MSP Jenny Gilruth, as well as a number of key campaigners last time round.
“Mr Kellet needs to come clean on how we have got to this mess and what he intends to do for the people of this town, it’s the least they deserve.”