Fife Council Labour leader Alex Rowley has called on Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to send a team of Scottish government health officials into NHS Fife to investigate what he calls the ‘ongoing failings’ that have followed the opening of the new Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.
Mr Rowley has also urged anyone who has had a bad experience at the hospital to make a formal complaint to NHS Fife following a meeting he had with the Operations Chairman David Stewart. He said; “I launched a formal complaint with NHS Fife after my mother had a terrible experience within the Victoria Hospital. I had already written to NHS Fife Chairman Professor Jim McGoldrick requesting a meeting to discuss the high numbers of complaints that I have received and I would have to say I am not convinced that we have the levels of beds and staffing to cope with the health needs of the people of Fife”.
“NHS Fife has made clear to me that I should have made a complaint sooner in the case of my own mother and that they would prefer that everyone who has a poor experience makes a complaint in order that they can deal with it. So their message loud and clear to the people of Fife is, if you have a bad experience or you feel the level of care and support is not good enough, then make a formal complaint.
“It is clear from the many people who have talked to me and my own experience that staff are absolutely run off their feet and under great pressure. The Director of nursing said to me that nurses cannot nurse if they are required to do other jobs and this suggests to me that there are not enough support staff. Indeed I have been told of people being taken down for x rays at one or two in the morning as there are not enough porters.
“I have made clear in my request to Professor McGoldrick that I wish to know if there is the capacity within Fife to cope with the health needs of the people of Fife. I have been told that there are 100 beds less now than there was under the two hospital set up. I want to know what the staffing numbers are now compared to this time last year for all staff.
He concluded; “The operations chairman described the move to the new hospital and everything that had happened since, as a ‘perfect storm’ but that would imply it had nothing to do with NHS Fife, it was just a combination of random circumstances. The fact is they have been planning this move for ten years and sadly they have not done very well and I want to know why. More importantly I want this situation to improve rapidly and I expect the cabinet secretary to also accept responsibility and to get something done”.
“I have nothing but praise for the staff, all staff but the senior managers, the Directors and ultimately the politicians in charge of our health service really need to get a grip on this situation”.