PLANS to bring new health centres to Lochgelly and Kincardine are already likely to cost £8m more than the original plans.

Initial agreements for the projects were approved by the Scottish Government last year and approval of an outline business plan will be sought at a meeting.

According to a report brought to the NHS Fife Board recently, the original estimates for the new facility at Lochgelly were that it would cost around £8.15m however this has now gone up to just over £13m.

At Kincardine, the projected cost has gone from just over £4.65m to over £7.8m.

NHS Fife's Head of Capital Planning and Project Director, Ben Johnstone, told board members that despite the increases in cost the projects were "considered to represent value for money" in the current market place.

"This case for change remains. The health centres are required to offer a full range of integrated health services locally within an appropriate environment.

"In addition, these two initial health centres will act as exemplar facilities on which to establish a wider primary care premises strategy in Fife. Work regarding this strategy is also underway separately."

Mr Johnstone said the reasons for the cost rise was down to several factors.

"There have been some increases in terms of building sizes but I think the bulk of the costs increase is just due to current market pressures we are seeing," he explained.

"Pressures in terms of the covid pandemic and war and brexit. These things are creating the perfect storm which is increasing the prices.

"We have a risk contingency pot which should help to offset any additional increases."

NHS Fife's Director of Finance and Strategy, Margo McGurk, said they had kept the Scottish Government up to date with changes in the plans.

"These are are two important local projects that we are in quite constant engagement with the Scottish Government so these business cases are expected by them and we have also been briefing them in relation to, in particular, the increase in forecast costs which is a market increase across all the capital programmes in NHS Scotland at the moment – it is not limited to our Fife programmes."

Last July, NHS Fife confirmed to the Times that building work on a new facility at Francis Street should begin early in 2023 and be ready to open a year later, in the first quarter of 2024.

Calls for the current centre in David Street to be replaced go back to at least 2016.