Published date : 14 Dec 2018



Glenrothes Hospital’s GP Out of Hours Service has been thrown a last minute lifeline ahead of a crucial vote by the Integrated Joint Board next week. The vote on closing the hospital’s out of hours provision permanently has been delayed due to a last minute pitch from the community for a Participation Request directly to the Health Board. A similar request has been submitted from St Andrews under the Community Empowerment Act.


Jenny Gilruth MSP has consistently voiced her opposition to Glenrothes’ GP out of hours closures, which faced a similar predicament in 2013. 


Speaking in Parliament this week, the town’s MSP criticised the ‘opaque’ nature of the public consultation process, which also included Community Health and Well-Being Hubs and community hospital and intermediate care bed redesign. Ms Gilruth was furthermore critical of the Equality Impact Assessment, staying: 


‘Ahead of today’s debate I wrote to the director of Fife’s health and social care partnership seeking more information. Who did they speak to in these categories? How did they identify risk? When was this work completed? 


These questions have not been answered. The EQIA document states it was started on the 28th of March - some 12 days before the services apparently ‘fell over’. If the service had to shut on an emergency basis, how on earth did the health and social care partnership have time to start an EQIA? Why was it not provided when elected members asked for it? 


The truth, of course, is that it was not conducted in March. Nor was it conducted in April. As the Director confirms to me in his letter, the EQIA was not approved until the 14th of September’.


Responding to the debate in the chamber, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman MSP, said: 


‘Ms Gilruth has raised serious issues about when the equality impact assessment was done and so on. I take the issue very seriously. There is now, of course, a request from St Andrews under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 to have recognition and participation, which was entirely within people’s rights to make, and I believe that there has been a request from Glenrothes, too. 


NHS Fife needs to look at that and consider it. It has already responded and asked for additional information. In my mind, all of that means that the IJB will not be in a position to make a decision next week, because NHS Fife has to hear, deal with and make a determination on that request in a proper and appropriate manner, without taking too long to do that’.


The community empowerment act allows community bodies to ask public authorities to be involved in decisions and put forward their ideas for how services could be changed to improve outcomes for their community. The participation request will now be dealt with by NHS Fife. It is expected the PCES closure period will be extended accordingly. 




Contact - Karen Newton 01592 764 815




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