A DECISION on the future of the hospice at Dunfermline's Queen Margaret Hospital is set to be taken tomorrow (Friday).

Members of the the Fife Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board will consider the proposals at their meeting before it also goes before the board of NHS Fife on Tuesday.

The health board last month outlined its proposals for the future of its specialist palliative care service.

They want the continuation of the current model using the purpose-built hospice at Kirkcaldy's Victoria Hospital complemented with a palliative care outreach team working across Fife’s communities, care homes, hospitals and hospice.

READ MORE: Dunfermline hospice set to close for good as NHS Fife palliative care plans

A single inpatient hospice has been in operation in Fife since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Ahead of the vote, Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker has called for a halt to the closure plans and urged the retention of specialist hospice provision alongside more at-home care, in order to deliver patient choice across Fife.

She said: “The apparent unwillingness of NHS Fife to share information on its plans for the hospice over the past three years has been hugely frustrating.

"From insisting the hospice was temporarily closed, to later stating its reopening in 2022 was only ever temporary begs questions around what is going on behind closed doors."

Between March 2020 and January 2022, the hospice was located in the grounds of the Victoria Hospital before moving temporarily to Queen Margaret Hospital to enable an extensive refurbishment of the Victoria Hospice before returning to Kirkcaldy in February.

NHS Fife says their plans will widen access to specialist palliative care for people in the Kingdom.

READ MORE: Fife MSP calls for delay in decision to shut Dunfermline hospice

Ms Baker said: “Now it seems the IJB is seeking to frame its plan to retain individual palliative care beds in Dunfermline as on a par with a dedicated specialist ward, which is far from the case.

"NHS Fife needs to be clear it is planning to replace a dedicated ward with beds in other locations, and the level of care for patients and their families is sadly not equivalent to a hospice ward.

“With the plan to permanently close the Queen Margaret hospice being taken without full and proper public consultation there is a sense of disrespect for the people across Dunfermline and West Fife, who stand to lose a vital and valued local service.

“I have once more written to NHS Fife, asking what consideration was given to retaining the specialist hospice provision alongside increasing at-home care options, and why this has not been pursued.

“To move to close a valued local service like the Queen Margaret hospice without proper consideration, including seeking the views of the wider community, is just not acceptable.

"I am urging NHS Fife and the IJB to put any proposal to permanently close the hospice on hold.”