A SENIOR West Fife councillor has said it is "absolutely imperative" that A&E services are restored at Queen Margaret Hospital.

Councillor Helen Law's comments come following fellow councillor Gavin Ellis' call for a review of services after an elderly driver fell ill at the wheel on Whitefield Road outside the QMH but was taken to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

With the population of West Fife continuing to rise, Cllr Law said it was important that Dunfermline had an emergency department.

"It is disgraceful that they lost the services that it did – it is really awful that we don't have the services," she said. "In places like Saline, in Blairhall, there are new houses everywhere and Dunfermline itself is a very fast-growing town and to have an A&E is really important.

"You can understand specialised services having to be in different places and you would not expect to get absolutely everything but, for goodness sake, accident and emergency is really important.

"Having out-of-hours and minor injuries is all good and well but again, you can go and wait your turn to get seen then sometimes they cannot deal with you and send you over to Kirkcaldy to A&E.

"NHS Fife have to make savings but they have been underfunded for years and years and it is really down to the Scottish Government."

Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville said it was important services at Queen Margaret continued to be maintained and enhanced as the population increases but ruled out the prospect of an A&E unit return.

“I’m of course sympathetic to the desire to see A&E services reinstated at the Queen Margaret," she said. "However, the reality of the situation is that the previous Labour administration decided to build a PFI hospital in Kirkcaldy, which incurred huge debts that will need to be paid back for decades to come. These debts have unfortunately made it impossible for this and future administrations to build an A&E and associated services in Dunfermline at this time.

“Whilst this is frustrating, I’m committed to making the case for services at our hospital to be enhanced going forward. We’re already seeing success with the innovative new Jack and Jill-style theatre, designed to reducing waiting times for cataract surgery and the Endoscopy and Day Surgery Unit. And a new forensic suite has been built, offering healthcare and medical examination services for victims of sexual assault.

“I’ll be working to make the case that this investment in our local hospital continues."

NHS Fife chief executive Paul Hawkins said the decision to transfer all emergency and inpatient healthcare services to Kirkcaldy in 2012 followed an "extensive and robust" public consultation.

“By locating A&E services centrally, NHS Fife can continue to provide a high standard of care and improve patient safety," he said. “The vision for Queen Margaret Hospital was to create an ambulatory treatment and diagnostic centre for Fife residents at the heart of the community and, since the move in 2012, the hospital has gone from strength to strength.

“Queen Margaret Hospital continues to provide planned acute services including outpatients, day case surgery, cancer services including oncology and a nurse-led minor injuries unit, all of which clearly demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the provision of acute services in Dunfermline.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson added: "Victoria Hospital has successfully hosted A&E services for the last seven years. Health boards and integration authorities understand our clear expectation that they must ensure their emergency care provision best meets the needs of the people in their area.

“NHS Fife has been repeatedly clear on its ongoing commitment to the provision of acute services in Dunfermline.”