NHS stalls on hospice decision
PLANS to close Queen Margaret Hospital's palliative care ward have been put on hold.
NHS Fife have taken a step back after widespread criticism featured in the Press over recent weeks from families who have spent precious time with their dying loved ones in the hospital's ward 16.
A decision was expected on whether to proceed with a proposal to close the hospice ward to save £320,000 a year at a meeting of NHS Fife operations division committee yesterday (Wednesday).
Instead, though, a report is being drawn up over the next two months looking at palliative care across the Kingdom.
The closure proposal has been condemned widely by West Fife politicians of all parties since it emerged.
Committee member John Winton raised the issue at yesterday's meeting in Kirkcaldy, saying that under 'Right for Fife' there was to be palliative hospital provision in West Fife and that there had been "quite an uproar" over the closure plans.
"I can't support this going through," he said, adding that he expected palliative care to continue at ward 16.
Committee chair David Stewart said there had been "a kneejerk reaction" from politicians in West Fife who would have served their area better if they had waited to see what was being proposed.
He said a report was being drawn up, the proposals put to the committee and "at that stage we'll say 'yea or nay'."
John Wilson, operations division chief executive, said it had never been planned to bring a report to yesterday's meeting.
Mr Winton said, "You're right to say MPs and MSPs have been jumping up and down about this."
He added that more care should be taken over the wording of proposals as what had appeared in NHS Fife papers up to now had clearly related to the closure of ward 16.
Mr Winton said, "I'm pleased this has been withdrawn as that's what you're saying."
Mr Stewart replied, "It's not been withdrawn. We've been explaining the thinking."
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