AN NHS FIFE whistleblower has claimed that patients are being let down and put at risk due to budget and staffing issues. 

A source told the Press that finance is taking precedence over care and treatment with Brexit and COVID-19 putting further strain on the cash-strapped health board - and their burnt out employees. 

They've made claims that hospital workers are unable to access the appropriate medication and dressings for patients, there are "severe" staff shortages and they're being asked to take on more work than they can handle. 

They told the Press: "As an NHS Fife employee I would love to be like 'This is what I'm seeing' but they would sack me because we’re not supposed to be talking about the management.

"We’re not supposed to be badmouthing them, but it’s got to the point where I feel like something needs to be said because I’ve been noticing things going down the pan for a wee while now.

Dunfermline Press: An NHS Fife whistleblower said patients at Queen Margaret Hospital and Victoria Hospital are being let down. An NHS Fife whistleblower said patients at Queen Margaret Hospital and Victoria Hospital are being let down.

"It's got to the point where you feel like, we uphold a profession of registration for a reason and so when we feel like patient care is being affected negatively, it’s a big thing."

The source claims to have heard that "NHS is on the brink of going bust" - Fife was £23m overspent by the end of March and had to get a £10m bail-out from the government - and believes they're not the only health board facing financial collapse. 

In a statement the health board told the Press that patient safety was their "highest priority" and they are trying to balance the books "without compromising patient care".

However to make the "unprecedented" level of savings required, they said more changes are coming down the line which "may not be universally popular". 

The source said that management blamed supply and staff issues on Brexit while the lack of finance was being felt at every level. 

They added: "Between Brexit and the budget, it's alright to provide bad patient care, is what I took from what they said. Obviously, they didn't say that but that’s what I've been left feeling.

"I don't think there was a problem until COVID.

"Don't get me wrong, I think they were in financial difficulty before COVID, but then COVID happened and the government threw money at it, but how do we know that renumerated properly for all the extra staff and all the extra stuff?

"All of a sudden they're in a situation now where they’re going to go bust.

"I get a lot of people say that the Conservatives are doing this because they want the NHS to go private but at the moment we’ve been left with nowhere to go, even if we wanted to.

"It’s difficult to pay for private care because there's not the supply in this country.  

"At the moment, we’ve got an NHS that’s basically broken and it’s just tough sh*t.

"For everybody, there are consequences of, you’re going to get poor care because there isn't the staff, there isn't the equipment, there isn't the space, all these people are waiting ages and ages on waiting lists and there's basically just not enough of anything to provide good care anymore."

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The source believes this to be a common feeling throughout NHS Fife, that healthcare workers are quitting in frustration because they aren't able to take care of patients the way they should. 

They added: "Obviously I can't speak on other people's behalf but I do get the general consensus that people are fed up and they've had enough.

"I think what gets to them is that they feel like they’re letting patients down because they're not able to give the care that they would like because they can't get the stuff that's needed."

In response to the allegations, NHS Fife's director of nursing, Janette Keenan, said: “As has been widely reported, NHS Fife is required to make unprecedented cost savings in the current financial year.

"Our position is similar to health boards across Scotland, with our budget for 2024/25 being around the same as last year while our operating costs continue to rise sharply.

“The work to achieve the expected level of savings has already begun.

"These efforts are focused on identifying efficiencies without compromising patient care.

"Importantly, our workforce is playing a vital role in helping us identify areas where savings can be made while continuing to provide a high standard of care."

She continued: “The level of savings we are required to make in the coming year will inevitably mean that we have to make difficult decisions around some of the services we provide, and the ways in which we provide them.

"In practice, this will mean transforming many of our services, making best use of our facilities and harnessing the significant skills and expertise of healthcare staff.

"We recognise that some of the changes we will be required to make may not be universally popular.

“Our commitment to people across the whole of Fife is that patient safety will remain our highest priority as we make the changes necessary to ensure we are providing the best possible healthcare services with the finite resources we have available to us."