This is the latest press release from the Out of Hours Group, an informal working group made up of St Andrews Community Council, various East Neuk and other NE Fife Community Councils, the Students Association and concerned individuals which is campaigning for the retention of a GP out-of-hours service at St Andrews Community Hospital.
The St Andrews Out of Hours Group (OOHG) has welcomed the call from one IJB member, Cllr Miklinski, that the IJB “listen to the people”, but has warned that will only happen if it puts right the mistakes it has made before. It says people in NE Fife expect authorities not just to keep to the letter of the rules for public consultation, but to follow their spirit which means being as “open, inclusive and responsive as possible”.
OOHG chair, Elie Community Councillor Angela Anderson said:
“The fact that a petition and postcard campaign attracted six times the number of responses that the IJB’s formal consultation did shows that thousands of people in NE Fife felt the IJB’s approach missed the mark. Crucially it excluded the option to keep a GP out of hours service at St Andrews.
The Option Appraisal workshops which identified the options to be presented in the IJB’s formal consultation included very few NE Fife residents, despite NE Fife comprising more than half the land mass of Fife.
The Scottish Health Council advises that NHS boards should maximise opportunities for engagement with groups not represented in the Option Appraisal and those who may be adversely impacted by options. This did not happen.
Our Participation Request seeks to remedy this oversight so that people in NE Fife, who include those who will be most adversely impacted by the changes, can be heard and their contributions properly considered before any final decision is made.
We are disappointed that we have not so far heard from NHS Fife about their process for considering our Participation Request and that no attempt has been made to open dialogue with us about this process.”