A job advert posted by NHS Fife for out of hours doctors has received no responses.
The advert was posted by the health board two weeks ago with the aim of easing staffing issues by recruiting in-house GPs to cover evening, weekend and overnight shifts in west Fife.
It comes at a time when out of hours services across Fife are being reviewed because of a shortage of medical staff.
The dire situation was revealed to City of Dunfermline Area Committee by NHS Fife’s director of health and social care Michael Kellet, who was told that councillors wanted to see out of hours services at Queen Margaret Hospital reinstated.
“To date we’ve received no response to the advert,” said Mr Kellet.
“The vast majority of GPs right across Fife are independent contractors who run practices during the day and some of them voluntarily, and it is only voluntary, work with the primary care emergency service as well.”
He said the attempt to recruit directly employed GPs for out of hours by posting an advert on November 13 had “proved not to be attractive”.
Mr Kellet added: “I think that’s a reflection of the shortage of GPs across Fife, and more generally across Scotland.”
Out of hours cover caters for people who do not need to visit accident and emergency but are too unwell to wait until their doctor’s surgery or pharmacy opens.
Since April there has been no overnight emergency cover at Queen Margaret Hospital, Glenrothes Community Hospital and St Andrews Community Hospital.
This contingency measure was brought in because NHS Fife did not have enough staff to draw up rotas.
Out of hours services at all three centres face closure.
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The options on the table are centralising out of hours services at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, or having two centres at Victoria and Queen Margaret.
In the meantime, all overnight cases have been seen at Victoria Hospital – a move which Mr Kellet said had not compromised patient safety because the Kirkcaldy hospital accommodated Fife’s only accident and emergency unit.
“There have been benefits of having a centre at Victoria, co-located with accident and emergency, allowing transfer where that’s appropriate,” he said.
The proposed closures to out of hours services are deeply unpopular, with campaigns launched across the region to convince Fife’s Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board (IJB) to save local services when it makes a decision next month.
Labour councillor Helen Law, who is convener of the Dunfermline committee, told Mr Kellet: “I think I speak for all councillors when I say we seriously want to see Queen Margaret Hospital’s service back in place.”
She urged Mr Kellet to tell the IJB that people in Dunfermline and west Fife want the service to be retained.
“Speaking to people in the street, on the doorstep, there is concern in the town,” she added.