NHS Fife has admitted they’re looking at stopping more services to relieve pressure and redeploy staff to where they’re most needed.
Carol Potter, NHS Fife Chief Executive, admitted this week bosses are looking at “retraction plans.”
The frank admission comes as the health board were forced to cancel non-urgent elective surgery earlier this month amid growing pressures.
And now they’re looking at where they can “step back or retract” other services to ensure safe staffing levels across Fife.
Ms Potter told the board of NHS Fife there are “significant ongoing challenges” facing the health and care system in Fife.
- The impact of increased hospital admissions for people with Covid.
- “Very high” attendances to the emergency department.
- Challenge and difficulties with the flow of patients through the system including pressures in the social care system.
In a stark warning, she added: “Essentially, there’s no area untouched.
Which services could be affected?
“This is manifesting itself as unrelenting pressure on our workforce.
“And I know this is impacting their capacity to cope after 18 months of working within the context of a global pandemic.”
Daily discussions at every level are ongoing and options to keep safe staffing levels across all services are being considered.
Although no detail was given on specific services which may be affected, Ms Potter said they’re looking at the acute hospital and community services as well as undertaking a review of non-clinical staff.
“These decisions aren’t easy ones to make, but we do have to consider every option.
“There’s no magic wand available to make everything all right over night, I’m not shying away from acknowledging the challenge of maintaining staff levels in some areas.”
‘We regret those decisions’
Hard decisions already taken include postponing non-urgent elective operations earlier this month.
This allowed registered nursing staff to supplement other areas of need.
Ms Potter added, newly qualified nurses will soon be coming on board, although they will need time to settle into their roles.
She also said they were doing “everything feasibly possible” to make staff feel supported and empowered to do their best under the tough circumstances.
Fifers were thanked for their “ongoing patience, understanding and support.”
“We’re well aware the decision to step back or retract from some of our services has affected many individuals.
“We genuinely do regret those decisions that we have had to take.
“Particularly the impact on those who are having to wait longer to receive their care or to be seen than we would have wanted.”