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Hope for Levenmouth hospital unit after councillors launch bid to overturn closure decision

Fife Council’s co-leaders are to write to health and social care bosses in a bid to overturn the closure of a Levenmouth hospital unit.

The Wellesley unit, which offered end of life care at Randolph Wemyss Memorial in Buckhaven, was closed recently without public consultation, in a move local Labour councillor Ryan Smart said had caused “distress and outrage. At a full council meeting on Thursday, Mr Smart’s motion for the decision to be reconsidered was unanimously backed by councillors. He said given the ward was closed because of a lack of medical staff, it should be a temporary closure until a doctor is recruited.

He said: “This decision was made without any consultation with local communities, staff and service users. Why this was not done is confusing to me. Also, apparently the consultation will take place after the decision has already been made – what’s the point? The decision by the board is devastating for our local community, who have been left feeling let down, especially when no warning was given. The local community… have put their names to a petition which is now sitting at around 1,800 signatures.”

The council’s co-leaders, Labour’s David Ross and David Alexander of the SNP, will write to the Fife Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board (IJB), which made the controversial decision.

Councillors on the IJB, and who had declared an interest, left the meeting while the item was considered.

They included Mr Alexander, who had been among those who voted in favour of the closure.

Labour councillors David Graham and Jan Wincott were the only elected members who voted for a temporary closure at the IJB meeting. But there was no opposition to the motion at the council meeting and it was agreed without discussion.

Colin Davidson, Labour councillor for Leven, Kennoway and Largo, said Mr Alexander was “going to have to write to himself as part of the board asking them to reverse the decision I’m astounded that the decision was taken the way it was taken. It’s hypocrisy of the highest order.”

Alliance for Unity councillor Linda Holt said: “Half the IJB consists of elected members of Fife Council, and they rubberstamped the closure of the palliative ward at a recent meeting. Fife Council would have been censuring itself had there been an amendment and debate. For anyone involved in the campaign to keep open the St Andrews out of hours service in the face of Fife Health and Social Care Partnership’s (FHSCP) determination to close it, their decision to close the Wellesley unit has a nasty whiff of déjà vu. There is no meaningful consultation with the community, staff or service users. Or rather consultation is now proposed, because it must be by law, when closure is a fait accompli. No wonder there is a public outcry and a rapidly growing petition.”

 

 

Article originally appeared on The Courier

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