NHS Fife is facing a mounting challenge as it makes plans to care for 32,000 extra patients.
The board has launched a discussion on how best to develop a new clinical strategy which will effectively provide a blueprint for services over the next five years.
Increased life expectancy, driven by advances in medical science, and a rise in Fife’s population in general have combined to create a scenario where the health board will be caring for an additional 32,000 patients over the next two decades.
This, coupled with a subsequent increase in the complexity of needs for those requiring care, means it is necessary for NHS Fife to examine the way services are delivered.
And where necessary, also to improve or reconfigure services to try to deliver high quality, safe and effective care.
Over the coming months NHS Fife will work closely with senior clinicians, patients, carers, and other groups to review services, how they are delivered, and how they may best be delivered.
The strategy has been broken down into seven key focus areas which will regularly bring together senior figures to provide expertise.
Feedback is central to the success of the strategy according to NHS Fife, which will be in regular dialogue with communities to find out priorities and consider their experiences as it looks to improve services.
Medical director and clinical strategy lead Dr Frances Elliot said the development was a “unique opportunity” for NHS Fife.
“It allows us to ensure we are best equipped to provide the best possible care, both now and in future,” she said.
“One of the central themes of this strategy will be devolving healthcare into communities and providing patients with the opportunity to be cared for within their own homes as much as possible, without having to come to hospital.
“Importantly, the final strategy will also be fully integrated with social care partners and we will work together closely to both improve general health and reduce health inequalities.”
She added the strategy would touch upon the care provided to everyone in Fife in some way or another, from new families at maternity, right through to end-of-life palliative care, and for it to be a success, the board needed to hear from all sections of the community.
Dr Elliot urged the public to play its role in ensuring healthcare in Fife is “the best it can possibly be” by visiting www.nhsfife.org/clinicalstrategy, or by attending one of the events held over the coming weeks.