DUNFERMLINE councillors have backed a call from the Press to bring more services back to the city's Queen Margaret Hospital.

We've highlighted the concern about more healthcare and treatment being centralised in Kirkcaldy and that our growing population deserves better.

A motion at the City of Dunfermline area committee highlighted the recent closures of the chemotherapy unit and hospice ward and led to a demand for a "fully functioning hospital".

Labour councillor Cara Hilton said: "Dunfermline is Scotland's newest city, our population is growing rapidly and yet once again we're seeing vital services removed from the QMH and centralised in Kirkcaldy.

"It's time for us to say enough is enough.

"We deserve a hospital here in Dunfermline that provides the full range of NHS services that people need and want."

She said it was important that end of life care is offered as close to home as possible and accused the health board of closing the hospice ward "by stealth".

In her amended motion Lib Dem councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder called for the reinstatement of the haematology unit and hospice: "It's not the first time we've heard this story.

"It was the same for the maternity ward, for the A&E department and I'm worried it will go down the same path for the hospice.

"Why should people from Dunfermline have to travel so far to see a loved one as they receive end of life care?"

She continued: "NHS Fife said travel will be provided for those that need it but that is not what people want.

"They want closer, easier access to healthcare and I cannot understand, especially with people who need chemotherapy, why they're making them travel so far and in such discomfort."

She said constituents had praised the care and treatment they had received at QMH and how lucky they felt to receive cancer treatment at a hospital close to home.

Cllr Boubaker-Calder said: "For those that don't know how important it is to bring those services back, just listen to what a chemotherapy patient, one of my constituents, has to endure.

"On top of a very serious disease they've been diagnosed with they have to endure equally serious treatment, which lowers their immune system and makes then nauseous and sick, that is necessary to stop and destroy cancerous cells.

"Two days before the chemotherapy session they now have to go to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, a minimum of a 30 minute drive if you're lucky, to take bloods which lasts for five minutes and then to go home again.

"Two days later they have to go back for the chemotherapy session, that's a minimum of two hours travel a week for patients who are wanting one thing after their treatment, to get back as quickly as they can to the comfort of their own home."

Convener James Calder said: "For those that require to use the haematology unit, many are going through extremely difficult circumstances, trying to cope with illness and their mental wellbeing.

"They want to see care provided in their community.

"As a city we need to be calling for more services in QMH, not less."

Cllr Calder will now write to NHS Fife asking them to consider bringing back the haematology unit and hospice ward to QMH, as well as an explanation of the staffing issues at the hospital.