WHAT good is city status when residents lack warm spaces to gather, struggle to get dentist and GP appointments and don't have a fully functioning hospital?

That's the question posed by Dunfermline North councillor Gavin Ellis who said basic healthcare concerns should take priority over more loftier municipal ambitions.

He was speaking after an update on the city conference, held at the end of June in the Glen Pavilion, was given at last week's area committee.

The Conservative councillor said: "It's clear that we should capitalise on the city status awarded to us and drive investment, I also hear loud and clear residents' voices over healthcare and wellbeing concerns.

Dunfermline Press: Councillor Gavin Ellis outside the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline.Councillor Gavin Ellis outside the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline. (Image: Cllr Gavin Ellis)

"What good is a city where its residents struggle to access basic healthcare?

“Some residents will have had no issues but there remains a majority spending endless time on the phone to their GP, waiting months for dental care and of course let's not forget the travel to Kirkcaldy for A&E after ours was taken away.”

Cllr Ellis has long campaigned for a review of Queen Margaret Hospital, with the aim of having more services offered in Dunfermline, and opposed the 'centralisation' of services at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

And he said that, with 1,400 more houses being "built on the doorstep" of the QMH, with work about to start on Taylor Wimpey's huge development between Halbeath and Kingseat, that demand for local healthcare will become more acute.

He added: "Over the last 10 years we have seen non-stop housebuilding and Dunfermline has been one of the fastest growing areas across the UK in terms of population, yet our emergency medical care is still located in Kirkcaldy which itself is seeing expansion in terms of new homes and population.

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"Now we are going to have another 1,400 homes built next door to a hospital that can’t treat emergency cases.

“How long can the Vic cope?

"We need our health services in Dunfermline restored and better workforce planning by NHS Fife and the Scottish Government should form part of the discussion over where Dunfermline goes as a city.”

Cllr Ellis was backed by Lib Dem councillor, and convener of the area committee, James Calder who callled on the Scottish Government, and Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville, to intervene. 

He said: "The people of Dunfermline have been clear for a long time that we need, particularly now we're a city and a rapidly growing one, proper medical facilities and more services to be reinstated at Queen Margaret Hospital.

"The Scottish Government, and our local MSP, should be doing more to improve healthcare here."