Dunfermline hospice future in doubt
FEARS have been raised over the future of the hospice ward at Dunfermline's Queen Margaret Hospital after a proposal to cut £322,000 from its budget this year.
The savings suggestion for the hospital's palliative care ward 16 raised alarm bells for elected members of the NHS Fife Board at its meeting on Tuesday.
John Winton, from Rosyth, said afterwards, "It was always part of the 'Right for Fife' programme that there would be palliative wards at both sides of Fife.
"If someone is dying in hospital, families can have round-the-clock access and it's important that the ward is in the area where they live so that people from the Dunfermline area don't have to go through to Kirkcaldy.
"I know savings will have to be made but there are some things you can't put a price on."
Mr Winton had been prepared to vote against the budget but was given assurances that any decision would have to be made by a committee and would go back to the board.
The proposal would come before the operations division committee of which Mr Winton is a member.
Board member Anne McGovern, of High Valleyfield, former leader of Fife Council, was another who voiced concerns about ward 16.
The issue arose during a discussion at the finance and resource committee - held before the board meeting - over the "2011/12 efficiency savings plan Top 40 schemes by value".
This was later re-titled at the request of members, with "schemes" being replaced by "options".
The saving of £322,561 in 2011/12 was to come from the "redesign of palliative care in the operational division based on evidence of a lower occupancy rate".
The budget was passed unanimously and chair Professor Jim McGoldrick said it was a "historic moment" as it has been the first under the new system of partially elected boards.
He welcomed the fact that new members had "not been backward at coming forward with things that concerned them".
The financial background to the meeting was that there had been a 1.06 per cent rise in funding from last year but that because of the rising cost of drugs, increasing VAT and National Insurance and an ageing population, savings of just over three per cent had to be found.
Professor McGoldrick said, "We are facing a very difficult financial climate. While the NHS has been protected within overall Government spending, the financial pressures on us mean some very tough decisions are needed.
"Balancing the books in 2011/12 will not be easy: the status quo for most services is not an option.
"We need to drive out savings wherever we can find them. But the decisions confirmed today make clear our determination to use the money given to us wisely, to protect services as we make the change needed for the future - and to do so in partnership with our staff whose hard work and commitment maintains the NHS we all use."
A statement from NHS Fife added, "As in previous years, higher savings will be expected from support services in order to minimise the impact on frontline services.
"Overall, the board intends to make the savings it needs without jeopardising patient services and patient care."
New investment includes the opening of two wards at Lynebank Hospital.
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Jun 4, 16:50
Jun 5, 14:44
Jun 6, 20:21
THE REMOVAL OF THE PALLATIVE CARE WARD WOULD BE TO BACKTRACK ON THE "RIGHT FOR FIFE" AGREEMENT SOME YEARS AGO WHERE THE RETENTION OF A PALLATIVE CARE WARD WAS ONE OF THE STRONGEST DEMANDS FROM THOSE IN WEST FIFE.. IT
THIS WOULD ALSO BE CLASSIFIED AS A MAJOR SERVICE CHANGE AND MUST BE SUBJECT TO A FULL PUBLIC CONSULTATION.
THIS MUST BE STOPPED NOW AS THE NEXT PROMISE TO BE BROKEN ON COST GROUNDS WILL BE THE PROPOSED MIDWIFE LED UNIT
Recommend? Yes 4 No 0
Jun 7, 21:43
as in gardening to trim the trees you dont cut the roots you lope the big branches at the top if the NHS were to do that there would be money for vital services there is too many managers with there own room and secretaries and half of them are struggling to justify there jobs and big money
Recommend? Yes 10 No 1
Jun 8, 16:00
I agree with midge there. The NHS is in a shambles at the vital grass roots end and those at the top who should be managing are not doing it very well.
Here's a prime example. How many people in Fife break an arm/wrist or leg/ankle a week? Judging by the number of people attending the small fracture clinic whilst I was there with my son, quite a significant number. The system that is in place to deal with this type of minor and very common injury is ludicrous.
1. Arrive at your given appt time and wait, usually 30 mins as they are invariably running late.
2. Name called, transfer to another waiting area and wait some more to see doctor.
3. See doctor and be sent for Xray
4. Arrive at Xray reception and wait some more for your turn.
5. Name called, go through to another waiting area and wait again for Xray room to become vacant.
6 Have Xray go back to 2nd waiting room to wait some more and see doctor again.
7. See doctor, if all ok, go and make another appointment to come back. If not transfer to plaster room waiting area.
8 Wait in waiting area for your turn to come up.
9 Have injury plastered.
10 Make appointment to come back.
11 Go home.
This system requires 6 visits to different waiting areas, the reception, the doctors, the xrays and the plaster room are all sited in different places.
Actual time being dealt with : 20 mins, total time for whole procedure : 3 hours. This is the system for a simple, frequent, non life threatening injury and it is a total waste of everybodies time.
My son broke his arm abroad. From the accident happening to him leaving the clinic in plaster was 1 hour. We were advised to take him to our local hospital once back in the country. Had we known that we would have had to go through steps 1 to 7 and two hours, simply for a British doctor say everything was fine, I would have stayed at home.
Recommend? Yes 4 No 0