Residents in Glenrothes have called on health chiefs to reverse the controversial decision to stop delivering out-of-hours services overnight.
At an event organised by the Glenrothes Area Residents Federation (GARF), Fife’s health and social care partnership was left in no doubt about the strength of feeling locally against its decision to withdraw out-of-hours services between midnight and 8am at Glenrothes Hospital, Dunfermline’s Queen Margaret Hospital and St Andrews Community Hospital.
Local activists in Glenrothes won a similar fight to retain the service when it faced the axe five years ago, and they issued a rallying call to the community to raise up again with out-of-hours provision again under threat.
Fife health and social care partnership confirmed earlier this month it would have to introduce overnight contingency measures as it was struggling to cover overnight shifts, with staffing shortages meaning overnight out-of-hours services would only be available in Kirkcaldy.
Local SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth has already garnered cross-party support against the plans and has submitted a members’ motion to the Scottish Parliament suggesting the decision was taken without public consultation; that it will increase health inequalities in the area; and that any public consultation that takes place retrospectively during the three month closure will be “compromised”.
“This decision was deliberately sneaked out during the parliamentary recess and it has been pinned on a staffing shortage, yet we have higher number of GPs employed in Fife than we did this time last year,” she stressed.
“We must unite to save our out-of-hours services for the good of Glenrothes.”
Labour MSPs Alex Rowley and Claire Baker also spoke during the public meeting at the Rothes Halls, which was organised by the Glenrothes Area Residents Federation (GARF).
GARF chair Ian Robertson accused the partnership of trying to withdraw out-of-hours services “by stealth”, and a working group has been formed to take the campaign to save services forward.
For the full story, see Tuesday’s Courier.