NHS Fife accused of putting staff parking before patient welfare

© Steven Brown
Protests were held last year about parking issues at the site.

Fife’s health chiefs have been accused of “hugely disadvantaging” patients by putting staff parking first.

Furious practice managers at Kirkcaldy Health Centre say some of the town’s sickest people are being forced to walk long distances because workers at nearby Victoria Hospital are clogging up their car park.

And they claim comments by NHS Fife chief executive Paul Hawkins have exacerbated an already chaotic situation to the detriment of patients.

They have now challenged him to see the chaos for himself and personally answer any patient concerns.

NHS Fife said it is committed to finding a solution, insisting patients are its first priority.

The war of words follows a letter from Mr Hawkins stating that NHS Fife’s policy was to allow its staff to park free of charge at any NHS Fife site and that there was no intention to change that.

The letter to a patient came despite a stream of complaints about the situation and a petition, which has attracted more than 2,600 signatures.

The four practice managers at the health centre, which serves around 20,000 patients, said they were very disappointed by Mr Hawkins’ comments, stating they showed “no regard whatsoever” to the difficulties patients were having.

Christine Watt, Cindy Low, Gwen Baillie and Issy MacDougall said: “It confirms that NHS Fife are not prepared to give any support in trying to resolve our parking problems.

“This decision clearly is extremely detrimental to Kirkcaldy Health Centre patients and disadvantages the very people we are all here to serve.

“It also impedes the ability of the practices to provide the best service we can for our patients.”

An NHS Fife spokesman said: “NHS Fife has been in dialogue with the practices for many months in an attempt to find a solution which is in the best interest of patients.

“We reviewed the parking situation at Kirkcaldy Health Centre in June in response to an approach from one of the practices.

“At the time, we contacted the practices outlining several possible options aimed at improving parking provision whilst maintaining our statutory obligations to remain within national guidelines.

“We have yet to receive a response from the practices to these proposals and a recent meeting to discuss potential options in more detail was unfortunately cancelled by the health centre themselves.”