THE people of Lochgelly are to be asked what they would like to see in the proposed new 'Health and Wellbeing Centre' for the town.

Lochgelly Community Council heard from the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership about the problems with the David Street facility, but they also looked ahead and described the proposed new facility as a 'first for Fife'.

The main issue of the night was the presentation given by the representatives from the FHSCP, with regards to the Health Centre, by Fay Richmond, Roz Barclay and Clair Robson.

It was reported that there hasn’t been a new doctor hired since Dr Cattanach retired, as there has been national recruitment difficulties when it comes to local GPs, its not just an issue related to Lochgelly, although having poor facilities certainly wouldn't be helping when it comes to attracting new doctors to the community.

The practice was trying to ensure that the same locums were in regular attendance to give patients a measure of continuity of care, and they were making sure there are both male and female locums attending to ensure patients who would rather see a gender specific GP are able to do so.

The community council was assured that if a patient phoned the “Dr. Cattanach” surgery with an emergency, they will be seen the same day either by one of the locums or by an advanced nurse practitioner, who is educate to masters level and is able to perform examinations, prescribe and review medication and carry out many of the same functions as a GP.

There is also an advanced nurse practitioner who is dedicated to dealing solely with patients in the local care homes, to take some of the pressure off of GP and other medical staff in both practices.

It was pointed out that there was a range of clinics still resident in the practices including Respiratory, Phlebotomy, Podiatry, Treatment room, District nursing; and Baby clinic; and visiting clinics including Psychology, Psychiatry and Sexual health, along with a resident mental health nurse who is there on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, who can give a full assessment, start treatment and perform reviews.

Community council secretary, Louise Brown, said: "Looking at the new facility, they said there has been positive news on this front and now they are looking for input from the people of Lochgelly to find out what the community needs and wants from the new “health and wellbeing centre”.

"The preferred site for the building is in Francis Street, but there has been survey work carried out in this location recently by Housing, so they don’t know if it will still be on that site or not.

"There will be a series of short public engagements, possibly to include roadshows and presentations, to enable the team to get as much information from the public to find out what we as a community need from a new build – are there any services not available now that would be beneficial to the community?

"For example a ‘pre-frailty’ service. The main focus of this, and many other new services, would be prevention is better than cure – to intervene before a person gets to the stage where they need medical attention and use more of the services – better heart care to prevent heart attacks and strokes for example, better mental health, to intervene when a person starts to struggle rather than fire fighting when that person enters mental health crisis etc".

Louise said that it was pointed out that the plan was that the new Centre will not be a Monday-Friday, 9-5 situation, but will have extended hours and the Centre could be available for use out of hours by other groups to make full use of the new facilities.

The information that is received from the community will then be fleshed out by the team to give benefits, costs and risks etc before being submitted for approval.

The FHSCP team said that it’s an ambitious project and there isn’t another like in Fife, although there are models in Renfrew and Westerhailles, apparently.

The projected timeline is public consultations in the next few weeks, the outline business case will be submitted by the springtime, it will then go to the board in the summer and then finally submitted to Scottish Government in autumn.