Health chiefs allow more time to explain options

THE consultation period on the future of Randolph Wemyss Memorial Hospital in Buckhaven has been extended for a further two months.

Fife Primary Care NHS Trust Board announced at a public meeting last Tuesday that the process would continue until May 14.

The extra time will enable health chiefs to set out clearly to local people the various options and give them time to consider and comment on the details.

The four options under consideration are:

Status Quo retaining all in-patient services at Randolph Wemyss, with essential upgrading.

Transfer 30 beds to Cameron Hospital, 10 beds to Glenrothes Hospital and 14 beds to social work, with various clinical services being based at Randolph Wemyss.

Retain 16 continuing care beds at Randolph Wemyss, with 24 beds being transferred to Cameron Hospital in Windygates and 14 beds transferred to Fife Council's social work service.

Transfer 42 beds to Cameron Hospital, with 12 beds being transferred to social work.

The trust's director of nursing, Irene Souter, said: ''The principles involved have already been in the public domain for some time and we want to share the detailed work that has been done on the options at our public meetings.''

Councillor Andrew Rodger, who chaired the meeting, said: ''I believe the public should be congratulated for their input and attendance at all the meetings.

''What this process is achieving is to identify the needs of the community, set priorities for the future and let the local people share control of their local health services.''

Comments about the proposals should be sent, before May 14, to Bill Jamieson, Fife Primary Care NHS Trust, Cameron House, Cameron Bridge, Leven.

They will be passed on to an 'options appraisal team' comprising a member of Fife Health Council representing the public, patients' relatives, staff organisations and clinicians.

They will examine the evidence for and against each of the options and make a recommendation to the trust board.

A decision will be reached on how to redesign health services in the Levenmouth area at the board's June meeting.