Review of elderly care in Fife raises questions over future of Cameron Hospital

The Courier understands the hospital, which celebrated its centenary this year, could face the axe in the coming months as part of a major shake-up of care for the elderly.

Cameron offers rehabilitation services and cares for around 100 patients, many of them elderly. It is managed by Kirkcaldy and Levenmouth Community Health Partnership (CHP).

When pressed on the issue, CHP general manager George Cunningham suggested the hospital could be surplus to requirements, with care of the elderly set to be increasingly focused on keeping people in their homes.

”Fife has an increasing elderly population. Most people want to remain living at home for as long as possible,” he said. ”They want to receive services in their own homes and in their local communities which keep them well and offer a good quality of life without the need for hospital admission.

”NHS Fife and Fife Council have developed plans to enhance support in the community to help people stay at home and avoid hospital admission. This person-centred approach offers an alternative to hospital admission by maximising older people’s independence.

”Similar models have proved popular and successful elsewhere and therefore we are considering the potential impact we expect on our hospitals, particularly those with longer stay beds for the elderly, and the options that will arise from reducing demand for bed-based care.

”Details of this programme are under discussion.”

Councillor Andrew Rodger — who correctly predicted the closure of ward 13 at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy last year — said Cameron could be closed in as little as four months’ time.

He said: ”We had a paper before us at the CHP, to reduce the 225 hospital beds in central and north-east Fife to 50 beds. The point is, they can’t keep all the hospitals going so either Glenrothes Hospital or Cameron is going to be closed, and I think it might be Cameron.”

Mr Rodger made the suggestion that one of the two hospitals could be earmarked for closure at the recent social work and health committee meeting in Glenrothes, which was attended by NHS Fife chief executive George Brechin.

”I would have expected George Brechin to shoot me down right away but he never said a word because he knew it was right.

”There is an issue with the health service cutting more and more beds. It seems to be always down to finance and not about people,” the councillor said.