The closure of the overnight GP emergency service in St Andrews is to be extended until September and a further consultation is planned to take place in the intervening period.
The Primary Care Emergency Service (PCES), which operated from St Andrews, Glenrothes and Dunfermline hospitals, ceased to operate in April 2018, because of the lack of GP’s and fears over patient safety. Since then, patients requiring the Out-of-Hours service between the hours of midnight and 8.00am, have been directed to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.
Confirming the 6 month extension of the overnight closure, Michael Kellet, director of Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We need to extend contingency measures for out of hours care for a further six months. “Staff shortages continues to be the biggest challenge. “Fife like many other areas across the UK is experiencing the impact of national shortages of key staff in this area. Recruitment of GPs and nursing staff remains a focus for us and feedback from the recent Joining Up Care consultation will help to inform how we move this forward. We will continually review performance over the next six months and provide an update at the end of July.”
Responding to the news, NE Fife MP, Stephen Gethins said “The closure of Out of Hours services at St Andrews and Glenrothes hospitals is of great concern to people living across North East Fife. I am glad MSP Jenny Gilruth is continuing to highlight this and stress that asking people to travel all the way to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy is not sustainable. It adds cost and could be very difficult for people who are ill and I back her call for members of the Integrated Joint Board to vote against the proposals when they meet on May 22”.
“Further to my letter to Michael Kellet, director of Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, I have been advised alternative arrangements have now been made to allow patients in North East Fife to attend treatment centre appointments at Kings Cross Hospital, Dundee, if they are concerned about travel distances to Kirkcaldy”.
NE Fife MSP, Wilie Rennie, commented “seeing the contingency arrangements for out of hours care extended is hugely disappointing. The case for keeping a service from St Andrews is clear to me”.
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