PEOPLE in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area who had operations postponed due to the coronavirus crisis may not have to wait too long to get the surgery they have been waiting on.

In parallel with the Scottish Government Covid-19 Route Map, published last week, NHS Fife has been working on its own service re-mobilisation plan.

At the NHS Fife Board meeting on Wednesday a report was considered that sets out the mechanism to take forward planning of the restart of clinical services across Fife. The NHS Fife Remobilisation Plan is clinically led and takes into account a number of key considerations:

• Impact of physical distancing on patient flow and capacity; as well as continuing to ensure a safe working environment for staff

• Continuing to embed digital solutions to support outpatient services into daily working practices

• Clinically led patient prioritisation

• Importance of communication – with staff, patients, public and local/national politicians

Carol Potter, Chief Executive of NHS Fife, said: “The re-mobilisation of NHS Fife services will be an iterative and dynamic process, and our immediate priority is to outline the steps we will take to gradually, cautiously, and in phases, move towards a new normality.

“Our approach for re-mobilisation has a strong and overt focus on clinical leadership. Our short term future will include “living with Covid-19, ” so we need to ensure that our services remain flexible and adaptable until such time as the virus remains suppressed to very low levels and is no longer considered a significant threat to public health – in other words, when we reach, and not before, Phase 4 of the Scottish Government Route Map.

“A Re-mobilisation Oversight Group, co chaired by the Medical Director and Director of Nursing, has been established to oversee the planning and restarting of services, to support a Covid-19 sensitive NHS Fife over the coming months".

She added: “The communities we serve across Fife showed great understanding as we made the necessary changes to our services to ensure we could manage an effective response to the global pandemic. "Through their adherence to the Scottish Government guidance they have undoubtedly played their part in slowing the spread of the virus and in turn reducing the numbers requiring admission to our hospitals. It is important that the public continues to follow Scottish Government guidance over the coming weeks to help ensure we can concentrate on reintroducing some of the services that had to be suspended, instead of focussing on any further disruption caused by a second surge in cases. We will use social media and direct contact with patients to keep the public up to date with the gradual re-introduction of services.

“Healthcare services in Fife have coped particularly well throughout this pandemic and this is in no small part down to the hard work and professionalism shown by healthcare staff across the length and breadth of the county over a number of months now and I thank them for their continued hard work and commitment as we move into this next phase of response to Covid-19".

Ms Potter concluded: “While we are beyond the peak of Covid-19 activity in Fife at this time, we need to continue to work hard to ensure our services remain agile and adaptable to meet the urgent and emergency health needs of people and we all continue to follow the national guidance, helping to limit the spread of the virus and take it one step at a time through our journey out of lock down”