A FIFE MSP has called for answers over the continuing closure of the Queen Margaret Hospice.

The facility, at the Queen Margaret Hospital, closed last April at the beginning of the pandemic, however, no date for re-opening has yet been given.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Ms Baker has written to NHS Fife asking about plans to re-open, highlighting the importance of offering those in need of palliative care a choice in where that is delivered.

“As part of the response to the pandemic, NHS Fife temporarily closed Queen Margaret Hospice, but, over a year on, we are still waiting to hear when it will re-open,” she said.

“The hospice provides vital and valued end-of-life care and the lack of a clear commitment to its re-opening is very worrying.

“People in end-of-life situations should be able to make a choice as to where they want to receive that care. Having family members cared for at home is not an option for everyone and we need to ensure that patients and their families can be offered end-of-life care in the setting they choose.

“I have written to NHS Fife seeking information on when the hospice will re-open and hope that we will see palliative care services delivered at the hospice again soon.”

Back in September, the Press reported the concerns of retired Dalgety Bay nurse Janice Bork who said she “did not believe” health chiefs who said there were no plans to close Queen Margaret Hospice permanently.

She said such a move would be a “crying shame” for the people of Dunfermline.

This week, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership division general manager, Lynne Garvey, said plans to re-mobilise palliative care were being developed.

“Palliative care services are delivered by Fife Health and Social Care Partnership on behalf of NHS Fife,” she said. “Throughout our response to the pandemic, our focus has been on providing the right care, in the right place.

“Palliative care delivery has had to change to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic and to ensure that our patients and their families are kept safe and are able to spend valuable and quality time together at home, rather than admitted to hospital.

“Inpatient palliative and end-of-life care has been available at community hospitals across Fife and the Victoria Hospice throughout the pandemic if deemed clinically appropriate.

“However, our focus has been on providing care in the community, with patients being cared for and families supported in their own homes by our specialist care teams.

“As the lockdown measures continue to ease, like all services across the Health and Social Care Partnership, the Fife palliative care service is developing plans to remobilise and build on the lessons learned from delivering services during a pandemic.”