New and expectant mothers could be forced to endure their stay in a Fife hospital alongside sick and dying patients, it has been claimed.
The Courier has learned senior consultants at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital are deeply uneasy about plans to take eight beds from the busy maternity ward to move gynaecological patients in.
Early pregnancy is also expected to move next door to the midwife-led unit, sparking concerns women suffering from early bleeding or miscarriages will be close to women giving birth.
The changes have been put forward as part of NHS Fife’s drive to move clinical wards within the Vic’s ageing tower block to new areas in the hospital and the health board has stressed patients safety will be central to any change.
However, one whistleblower at the hospital, branded the move “absolutely ridiculous” and has urged people to raise their concerns about the “atrocious” state of affairs.
The staff member, who does not wish to be named, said: “This means there will be, from the end of this month, ladies of varying ages, majority pensioners, with gynae-related problems, including cancer, sharing the same ward as new mums with their babies.
“The only thing separating them will be a partition.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that they think this is OK, to have new mums next to dying ladies.
“Where are they going to wheel the bodies through if there are, sadly, some deaths? What about infection risks? Who’s going to stop senile/dementia patients from wandering to look at babies?”
She added of the suggestion early pregnancy patients could be based next door to the midwife-led unit:“Potentially you could have a lady having a miscarriage listening to a woman giving birth.
“It makes me so angry and I know the consultants aren’t happy with the moves either. Maternity should be for maternity only, not the sick and dying.”
The whistleblower also alleged offices and changing areas will be lost during the moves, with workers told they can change into uniforms in the staff kitchen.
Jann Gardner, NHS Fife chief operating officer, confirmed co-location of gynaecology and obstetric services were being considered as part of a new programme of work to optimise clinical care and use of facilities.
She said: “Key staff from across clinical services and planning have been involved in this work and our staff will continue to play a crucial role as we continue to develop this programme further.
“In the coming months we will see clinical wards within the tower block begin to move to new areas. These moves will allow better co-location of services and reduce the need for patients to be moved around the hospital as part of their care.
“The safety and fabric of our buildings are maintained at a safe level at all times.
“We are acutely aware of the importance of placing our patients in the right place, where patient experience, quality of care and dignity can be maintained.
“Patient safety will be at the heart of any changes.”