THE resounding view of Press readers in favour of the return of A&E services to the Queen Margaret Hospital was highlighted by a Dunfermline councillor this week.

As we reported last week, Cllr Gavin Ellis had raised a motion asking that health minister Humza Yousaf be invited to attend a meeting of the City of Dunfermline area committee to answer questions about an upgrade of the hospital, leading to a number of Press readers commenting on the issue on our Facebook page.

However, his motion was outvoted after SNP councillor Lynn Ballantyne-Wardlaw moved that the questions would be better directed to NHS Fife's chief executive instead.

Cllr Ellis said he had already asked the health board back in 2018, however, this had been to no avail.

"I fully understand where Cllr Wardlaw is coming from but we have to look back at 2018," he said. "I asked these questions before and was directed back to NHS Fife who, quite frankly, came back and said it was down to resources.

"Hence why directing it to the current minister. That is why we need answers on what NHS Fife require. We need to know why that has not been done. There has been plenty of time to make these resources available. In my eyes, it is poor workforce planning.

"Look at the Dunfermline Press story yesterday. Look at some of the comments about what residents want. They want to know why and, at the end of the day, that has to come from the top."

Cllr Ballantyne-Wardlaw said the questions were "better directed" to NHS Fife.

She added: "Arguments for maintaining a minor injury unit are well known and again, it would seem sensible to ask NHS Fife to review the possible advantages to reopening A&E at the Queen Margaret."

Labour councillor Cara Hilton backed Cllr Ballantyne-Wardlaw's view.

"I am obviously fully in support of a return of A&E services in Dunfermline. An A&E service is much more pressing than ever. If we have maternity services, it needs to be a full service," she added.

"I am in two minds as to what way to go. I would love to have Humza Yousaf along to the area committee. I would love to hear him answering why they have not committed to Dunfermline and why Fife has the worst A&E stats on record.

"But I agree with the amendment to the motion it would be much more appropriate to take this up with the chief executive of NHS Fife.

"I would like to see us all work together to get services restored to the Queen Margaret."

Following the meeting, Liberal Democrat councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder, who had seconded Cllr Ellis' motion, expressed her disappointment.

“It was a shame the SNP amended this motion and some Labour councillors agreed to it, thereby preventing us from having a discussion with the Health Secretary," she said. "It feels as though all of them are out of touch with local residents on this issue and are putting it back to a standstill once again.

“Nevertheless, if the answer of NHS Fife is the lack of funding and resources from the Scottish Government, the same as the one given in 2018, I hope that councillors will reconsider this motion and request the Scottish Health Secretary to attend.”

Committee convener, Councillor James Calder, said he had been supportive of the original motion and pledged to take the issue forward.

“While the original motion was not passed, I do believe that this needs to be raised with the Scottish Government," he said. "As a result, I am writing to the Health Secretary to ask for his response to the points raised at the meeting.”