This site is intended for health professionals only

Cuts to out of hours GP services set to continue for six months in Scottish county

Reduced out of hours GP services in Fife are to continue for a further six months, the organisation running the service has announced.

Fife Health and Social Care Partnership said ongoing medical and nursing staffing problems meant OOH services between midnight and 8am would still only be available at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

The partnership, formed from Fife Council and NHS Fife, cut the region’s overnight primary care services last year at three hospitals – in Dunfermline, Glenrothes and St Andrews.

The contingency measures were first put in place in April 2018 and will now be extended until the end of August.

The current arrangements are –

From 6pm to midnight (Monday to Friday) and 8am to midnight (weekends and public holidays) GP out of hours services will continue to be delivered as normal from:

  • Queen Margaret Community Hospital, Dunfermline
  • Glenrothes Community Hospital, Glenrothes
  • St Andrews Community Hospital
  • Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy

 From midnight to 8am, GP out of hours services will only be available at:

  • Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy

Fife Health and Social Care Partnership director Michael Kellet said the decision had been taken to ensure patient safety.

He said: ‘Recruitment of GPs and nursing staff remains a focus for us and feedback from the recent Joining Up Care consultation will help to inform how we move this forward. We will continually review performance over the next six months and provide an update at the end of July.’

In a report in October last year, the auditor general warned of significant challenges to the workforce, with a quarter of Scottish practices reporting a GP vacancy in 2017/18.

Last April, government data revealed a total of 26 GP posts were vacant on the NHS Fife board for over six months in 2017.

Last week, Scottish practices found out they will receive £50m in sustainability loans over the next two years.