RELIEF AT RANDOLPH WEMYSS REPRIEVE

THE future of a Levenmouth hospital looks to have been secured after the Fife NHS Board agreed plans for its modernisation.

THE future of a Levenmouth hospital looks to have been secured after the Fife NHS Board agreed plans for its modernisation.

A cloud of uncertainty has been hanging over Randolph Wemyss Memorial Hospital for a few years but it's been confirmed that a range of new services and facilities will be moved there.

It looked as if the Denbeath hospital could fall victim to Fife NHS's 4m cost-cutting exercise but this latest announcement has allayed fears.

Local councillor and outspoken Fife NHS critic Andrew Rodger is pleased with by the news but remains cautious.

He said: "This is long overdue. We have waited three years for this.

"It is a good venture and I welcome it. Hopefully the money will be made available as soon as possible.

"I want to make sure we are given priority for this. I hope the board sticks to the plan and ensures it is delivered."

Mr Rodger, who also heads the Fife Health Forum, also hopes the board now has its finances in order.

He said: "A lot of capital has been wasted in the past just to maintain services and using it as revenue. I hope this isn't the case anymore."

The fears over the hospital's future were heightened two years ago when Fife NHS announced a 12-point plan to reduce costs with measures including the loss of beds, reduction of hours at the accident and emergency department of Victoria Hospital and staff cuts.

But now Randolph Wemyss will play a major part in the local community when the services are introduced by summer 2007.

These include adult physiotherapy, a total of 16 continuing care in-patient beds, community dental services, clinical psychology service, community rehabilitation service and 15 day care places.

Also featured will be learning disability services, out of hours service for Levenmouth residents, paediatric physiotherapy and smoking cessation service.

Fife NHS's project lead Dr Les Bisset believes the new provisions are based on what the people of Levenmouth want.

He said: "We are continually working to identify how best to meet the health needs of local communities.

"This information formed part of the public consultation carried out on the future of services at Randolph Wemyss and helped us reach a decision which will see integrated and enhanced services provided locally to the residents of Levenmouth."