Published date : 24 Oct 2018


The town’s MSP, Jenny Gilruth, has led a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the closure of GP out of hours services across Fife. Contingency measures were introduced by Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership back in April.

GP Out of Hours services have been closed between 12 midnight and 8 am in Glenrothes, Dunfermline and St Andrews as a result, forcing Fifers to travel to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. Commenting during the debate the MSP said:

‘What was meant to be a temporary closure has now been ongoing for 197 days in total.

Given that Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership took the decision to extend the contingency period, it will be a New Year before the service is fully operational again.

If, indeed, that ever happens, because despite a backdrop of closure, the Partnership then took the decision to engage in a retrospective public consultation on transformative change.

This, in my view, has compromised the consultation from the outset -  the consultation should not be taking place during a period of closure’.

Jenny Gilruth MSP also pointed to the confusion caused by the public consultation, which has also included community hubs and hospital care bed re-design. The lack of an equality impact assessment until the Summer months was furthermore highlighted and the absence of any transport appraisal to support travel from Glenrothes to Kirkcaldy.

Scottish Government Minister for Public Health, Sport and Well-Being Joe Fitzpatrick MSP said:

‘Access to urgent primary medical services outwith normal GP surgery opening hours is a fundamental part of unscheduled care in Scotland. I thank Jenny Gilruth for bringing this issue to the attention of the chamber

The Scottish Government has been very clear that NHS boards and health and social care partnerships are expected to ensure the delivery of safe and sustainable services across the locality that they serve and in the round.

I hope that I have provided reassurance that the Scottish Government takes these matters seriously and that we expect decisions by partnerships to follow meaningful community engagement’.

Last month, Jenny Gilruth also met with the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman MSP, in Holyrood to discuss her ongoing concerns for constituents in Glenrothes and the surrounding areas. The public consultation period closed on the 8th of October. The report and final proposals will be considered by the Fife integration joint board at its meeting on 20 December.

In her closing remarks in the debate, Jenny Gilruth MSP said:

Our National Healthcare Service was founded in 1948. The same year the first turf was being cut to build Glenrothes. From the cradle to the grave, free at the point of need. For Glenrothes to lose GP out of hours services in our 70th year would be an absolute travesty for the people I represent. I look forward to the outcome of this public consultation, with the well-being of the Kingdom’s most vulnerable in mind. I am confident that Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership will come to the correct decision’.


Local Reporters, East Fife Mail, Glenrothes Gazette, St Andrews Citizen, Courier (Fife), HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE
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