A PETITION launched by a Dunfermline man calling for the return of Accident and Emergency services to Queen Margaret Hospital has attracted more than 6000 signatures.

Jim Philp began his campaign after stating that lives could be at risk due to the extra miles that patients across West Fife have to travel for A&E treatment at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

The petition, which has been supported by communities across the whole of West Fife, has been backed by Dunfermline MSP Cara Hilton who said that she would be seeking a meeting with NHS Fife bosses over the issue.

All emergency services were moved from Dunfermline to Kirkcaldy in 2012 under ‘Right for Fife’ proposals developed in 2001/2002 to modernise health provision across the Kingdom.

But Jim said, “I cannot understand what kind of crazy people can remove a service which was already set up in Queen Margaret.

“Dunfermline is getting bigger with more new houses set to be built and I think people’s lives could be at risk in the long-term as Kirkcaldy will not be able to handle it.

“One of my neighbours suffered an aneurysm a year ago and passed away on the way to the Victoria. I’m not saying he would definitely have survived but I’m sure if he was taken to the Queen Margaret then he may have had a chance.

“It’s also causing hardships for older people, especially if you don’t drive.

"My wife’s not been keeping great in the last two to three years and it costs an arm and a leg in petrol but I’ve been bumping into people who are having to get two buses to get there.

“There is a tremendous pressure and cost on people to get to the Victoria to attend for treatment or to visit.” Mrs Hilton commented, “Jim came in to see me and it is a very important issue for people in Dunfermline.

"It is a growing area, with thousands of new homes set to be built in the next few years, which deserves an A&E service.

“If there is an accident then you want to be seen as quickly possible but it is difficult to get there with the bus services. I am not sure how feasible it is or what the costs are but I will look to set up a meeting with NHS Fife to discuss it.” John Wilson, chief executive of NHS Fife, said, “The rationale behind Fife’s overall strategic approach, agreed in 2002, which has seen acute in-patient care brought onto the one site along with a single A&E department, has been well documented.

“The decision to move to a major single-site A&E department allows NHS Fife to deliver services to the population at sustainable and clinically safe levels of staffing and ensures that those most in need of urgent medical help are seen rapidly in a department able to respond safely and immediately to the most critical needs.  “The move of A&E services has expanded the availability of senior medical cover on the one site, which would have been impossible to maintain on two sites.

“NHS Fife continues to invest in Queen Margaret Hospital and as part of this investment a Diagnostic and Treatment Centre is being created, bringing together day surgery, day intervention, urology and endoscopy.

“In addition, a range of community and primary care services will be brought together, improving the experience of our patients.”