2000+ Postcards Objecting to Out-of-Hours Hospital Closure

The Royal Burgh of Kilrenny, Anstruther & Cellardyke Community Council              Statement  re: FH&SCP Proposal to close St Andrews Out of Hours Service

A postcard campaign was organised to engage with the residents of the East Neuk to seek views on the recent proposals from Fife Health & Social Care Partnership to close the Out of Hours Service at St Andrews Hospital.  This was initiated following the local consultation evening held at Waid Academy on 20th September whereby FH&SCP Chairman Mr Simon Little said he wanted to hear from people what they wanted in a service, and why they thought it should stay in St Andrews.  The local strength of feeling on this issue is very clear, with over 2000 completed postcards received in a two week period.  The overwhelming response from the public is that the service should remain in St Andrews as it would be unsafe and unfair to the people of North East Fife otherwise.  It is not equitable to have all Out of Hours provision based in West Fife.

The overwhelming feedback from the campaign concerned the long drive to Kirkcaldy, especially in the darkness with a sick passenger (or driver), negotiating rural roads especially throughout the winter months.  Timing is critical when dealing with urgent (non-emergency) medical issues and in some cases critical.  There is a genuine concern amongst residents in the East Neuk that lives will be at risk.

Many people raised concerns about increased pressure on ambulance services and on local GP practices’ in the daytime.  These services are already working at capacity and any increased impact could have a direct effect on the level of care/service available to our Community.

Our community has the highest percentage of over 85’s in Scotland, a student population of thousands and large numbers of tourists all year round.  Removing the local service penalises all of these groups as well as families with young children, those without access to a vehicle and those who would be unable to afford public/private transport.

It is abundantly clear the people of Kilrenny, Anstruther & Cellardyke are opposed to the current proposals, many of whom would still be unaware of them if it were not for the recent Postcard campaign.  There was a vast amount of feedback criticising Fife Health & Social Care Partnership’s online consultation as inaccessible, full of jargon and too complex to complete.

In representing the views of our community, the Royal Burgh of Kilrenny, Anstruther & Cellardyke are categorically opposed to the proposal to close St Andrews Out of Hours Service and given that there is an option to retain two services (therefore the funding for two services),  our strong recommendation is that Fife Health & Social Care Partnership retain a service at St Andrews to serve those in North East Fife,  alongside one West Fife option.

We urge FH&SCP to listen to the views of our Community, expressed clearly on the postcards and include these as part of the wider consultation process.