"HANDS off our services!"

That's the message from senior Dunfermline councillor Helen Law to Fife's Health and Social Care Partnership amid continued fears over the future of end-of-life care in Fife.

As reported recently in the Press, both West Fife families and politicians fear the hospice at Queen Margaret Hospital is under threat of closure with still no start date of when it will re-open.

Staff have been caring for palliative patients in the community to reduce the risk of coronavirus.

The health board has insisted that there are no plans to close the hospice permanently but many remain unconvinced.

Fears over services for end-of-life care in West Fife have also been heightened after the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership voted recently to close the Wellesley Unit in Methil.

Councillors stepped in on the controversial bid to close the hospital unit at last week's full council meeting.

They are to write to Fife Health and Social Integrated Joint Board to make the closure of the Wellesley Unit for end-of-life care at Randolph Wemyss Memorial Hospital a temporary  move – rather than permanent.

The original decision sparked a backlash in the community. It was taken on the grounds that there was there was no responsible medical officer available to oversee the ward.

Councillors raised concerns over the lack of consultation and agreed unanimously to change the status to temporarily closed.

Cllr Law has already spoken out about protecting palliative care services in Fife and backed the motion last week.

She said: “I believe end-of-life care is a fundamental right in any decent society.

“Not everyone can be looked after at home as much as we want them to be.

“Local end-of-life care should be made available to everyone who needs it and there should be further discussions around a new medical officer and survival of the Wellesley unit.

“Can a message go out from this virtual chamber to the Health and Social Care Partnership? Hands off our local services!”