Remobilising hospital services in a safe way with a focus on urgent care is a key priority for NHS Fife over the coming months.
The region’s health chiefs have been asked to concentrate on three main considerations as services remain on an emergency footing due to the coronavirus pandemic, in line with national guidance.
Restarting routine appointments is one priority, along with increasing capacity around test and protect in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, and rolling out the flu vaccination programme.
NHS Fife chief executive Carol Potter said the instruction from NHS Scotland chief executive John Connaghan provided “stark clarity” of how services could look in the coming months.
“It feels strange when we’re seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases to be talking about remobilisation when there is uncertainty around the coming days and weeks,” she said.
“We have received a letter from John Connaghan, NHS Scotland chief executive, that confirms NHS Scotland will remain on an emergency footing until at least March 31.
“The letter makes very clear and specific mention of three main tasks health boards are being asked to focus on.
“It would be remiss of me not to say urgent and cancer care will remain our absolute priority.”
Health and social care services in Fife were last week given almost £40 million from the Scottish Government to help with coronavirus-related expenditure and preparations for winter.
The money can be used for costs such as additional staffing or sickness expenditure, enhanced infection prevention and control measures, and the purchase of PPE.
Fife staff have already begun a review of the impact any continuing increase in coronavirus cases would have on critical care beds and that will be looked at on a week-by-week basis.
NHS Fife’s budget is already overspent by almost £7m this financial year thanks to an £8.4m overspend on covid costs and an £1.8m underspend in other areas.
Ms Potter said management would be digesting the details of the Scottish Government’s award to see if it was in line with the amount they were expecting.