A RENEWED call has been made for answers from the Scottish Government about when a new health centre will be provided in Kincardine.

Councillor Graeme Downie said he and the Kincardine Community Council have been pushing for a meeting with health minister Michael Matheson to discuss concerns however their efforts have so far been unfruitful.

The current health centre in Kilbagie Street was branded "not fit for purpose" in 2016 however the Scottish Government said earlier this year money to fund a new facility – as well as one in Lochgelly – was not considered a "priority" for the Scottish Government in its Infrastructure Investment Plan (2021-26).

READ MORE: New Kincardine Health Centre plans dealt funding blow

Announcing the decision not to allocate cash for the new facilities in Kincardine and Lochgelly, the health secretary blamed sky-high inflation, less cash than expected from Westminster and rising construction costs.

Local community members attempted to raise the profile of their battle by creating a banner asking saying 'Kincardine needs a New health centre' on a banner as television cameras were in the village for the recent UCI Cycling World Championships.

Cllr Downie said he will keep working with the local community to get progress.

"I am going to try and put on as much pressure to at least get Michael Matheson to meet with the community," he said. "He is refusing to meet with the local community to explain. Given his constituency is just across the water in Falkirk, it is unacceptable.

"It is not just about the building itself. If you have got a building that is not ideal, you are going to struggle to recruit and provide good service.

"There is competition for GPs and if you are a GP and have just qualified, are you going to choose to working in a building which doesn't have any storage and which is not fit for purpose or are you going to choose to go somewhere else?

"I think it comes down to the fact that Kincardine is not a priority and that is not acceptable."

Giving an update this week, NHS Fife reiterated its commitment to the development of two new purpose-built Community Health and Wellbeing Centres in Lochgelly and Kincardine.

They say plans have been developed over a number of years with our partners and local communities to replace these centres with two new purpose-built community health and wellbeing centres.

An Initial Agreement Document (IAD) for the replacement of the existing centres was approved by Scottish Government in January 2020. Outline business cases were subsequently presented to the Scottish Government’s Capital Investment Group (SCIG).

NHS Fife was asked to re-submit the outline business cases with some additional detail incorporated, with the revised documents submitted earlier this year.

The full business case is well progressed, however, formal approval of the outline business cases is yet to be given by the Scottish Capital Investment Group before the full business case can be submitted.

NHS Fife Director of Public Health, Dr Joy Tomlinson, said: “The existing health centre buildings in Lochgelly and Kincardine are no longer able to meet the evolving health needs of the local populations.

“We are aware, however, that Scottish Government is taking a phased approach to the funding of capital projects, with their position remaining that this cannot be provided until 2026 at the earliest.

“NHS Fife remains absolutely committed to developing these two new centres at the earliest possible opportunity confirmation that capital funding is available.

“The Board is also in regular dialogue with Scottish Government to clarify the timeframes for funding the projects.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We know that a new health centre is needed in Kincardine and we are keen to see that the business case is progressed by NHS Fife so that construction can begin when funding becomes available.

“Due to the Scottish Government receiving a lower capital grant from the UK Government, and significant increases in construction costs from inflation, health infrastructure spending over the next three years will be focused on the priority projects identified in the Scottish Government’s Infrastructure Investment.

"This limits the number of projects which can start construction in the next three years.”