Fife Health and Social Care Partnership are introducing contingency measures overnight in the Primary Care Emergency Services (PCES) in response to nursing and medical staffing difficulties.

Patient safety is our primary concern and measures have been put in place to ensure services are being provided with safe levels of nursing and medical staffing.

PCES (commonly called Out-of-Hours services) provides urgent care to the people of Fife when GP practices are closed. Contact with the service is via NHS24 (freephone 111), with urgent care provided by a team of healthcare professionals in centres across Fife.

From Monday, 9 April, 2018, all PCES centres will continue to operate as normal from 6.00pm to midnight (Monday to Friday) and 8.00am to midnight (weekends & public holidays).  However, overnight, from midnight to 8am, no PCES services will be delivered at:

  • Queen Margaret Community Hospital, Dunfermline
  • Glenrothes Community Hospital, Glenrothes
  • St Andrews Community Hospital

Overnight PCES services will be available at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.   This contingency measure will be in place for a three month period.

There will be no changes to the operation of the Minor Injuries Unit at Queen Margaret Hospital, which will continue as normal.

Fife Health & Social Care Partnership continues to make every effort to resolve clinical staffing difficulties as quickly as possible.

Dr Alan McGovern, Clinical Director (West Division), Fife Health and Social Care Partnership stated:

Dr Alan McGovern, Clinical Director

“The safety of every single patient is in Fife is our first priority.  As with most areas in Scotland, difficulty in recruiting GPs and Primary Care medical staff for out of hours work has put enormous pressure on delivering the service.

“In Fife, the out of hours service has only been able to maintain cover through daily monitoring and enormous efforts by all staff.   Unfortunately we are now in a position where we are unable to cover all the overnight shifts, meaning we have had to move to contingency measures to ensure patient safety.  Between midnight and 8.00am, around 11 people attend Queen Margaret Hospital, Glenrothes Hospital and St Andrews centres in any one night. They will now go to the centre at the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.   Home visits, for those who require them, will not be affected. These contingency measures will be reviewed in three months.”

The longer term plans for Fife’s Out of Hours services

The current Out of Hours services (PCES) service in Fife is experiencing:

  • Reducing numbers of GPs and Nurses available to work evenings, holidays and weekends.
  • Clinical and professional skills being spread across 4 centres, and;
  • An inability to ensure a sustainable and safe level of response for the public if the model continues in its current shape

To address these issues, clinical staff and partners across Fife are working to develop a longer term solution for urgent care services alongside other proposals for more joined up care in Fife and hope to consult on those plans later this year.

Michael Kellet, Director, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership said:

“We’ve had to take immediate action in relation to Primary Care Emergency Services in Fife to ensure we can continue to deliver a clinically safe and sustainable service over the next few months.  As we do so we will continue to develop our plans for the longer term measure for urgent care.  We will consult the public on those longer term plans before any permanent decisions are made.”

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