A PUBLIC meeting will be held in Lochgelly Centre on Tuesday to discuss the campaign to secure the £13 million-plus needed for the town's new health centre.

A replacement for the "dilapidated and unfit for purpose" David Street facility was promised by 2019 but work has never started and earlier this year the Scottish Government admitted there would be further delays in supplying the money to pay for it.

NHS Fife said they're "ready to deliver" a new health centre in Francis Street but chief executive Carol Potter said the "main blockage" to going ahead is the capital funding.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley said promises must be kept: "Staff from the health centre have asked for support to get a commitment and timeline for this project, stating that the building they are in is not fit for purpose, is a barrier to recruiting new staff and to being able to provide the kind of local services that are required.

"A GP from the practice will be outlining the challenges they face at the public meeting.

"The aim of the meeting is to support the local staff and build the campaign to secure, not just another promise, but a budget.

"The meeting starts at 6.30pm."

In a letter inviting fellow MSPs to the meeting in Lochgelly Centre, Mr Rowley wrote: "You will be aware that the local campaign was assured by the Scottish Government that a new building would be delivered by 2019 and, when that did not happen, they were given assurance that the building would be delivered by 2022.

"To date, there has been no progress.

Central Fife Times: Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley.Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley. (Image: Alex Rowley)

"Indeed, on October 28, 2021, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf, gave parliament 'an absolute confirmation' that, when the business case for the new Lochgelly medical centre was in place, the funding would be found."

However, in March the Minister for Public Health, Maree Todd, said the "funding is likely to be in the second half of the decade".

Mr Rowley continued: "As you can imagine, this was a shock to all the campaigners, the staff at the Lochgelly Health Centre and the patients of the practice."

Money for a new health centre in Lochgelly was not considered a "priority" for the Scottish Government in its Infrastructure Investment Plan (2021-26).

In May the new cabinet secretary for health, Michael Matheson, said he would visit the current health centre

He blamed sky-high inflation, less cash than expected from Westminster and rising construction costs for the funding delays.

Mr Rowley said the people of Lochgelly should be given a public apology.

Local councillor Linda Erskine previously told the Times that the campaign for a new centre goes back to 2012.

The then councillor Mark Hood raised it in the Times in 2016.

NHS Fife submitted plans to the Scottish Government for a new health centre in 2017 but they were rejected.

Central Fife Times: Staff at the current Lochgelly Health Centre say the premises are not fit for purpose.Staff at the current Lochgelly Health Centre say the premises are not fit for purpose. (Image: Newsquest)

An initial agreement was approved by the government in January 2020 but, more than three years later, the business case from NHS Fife has yet to be agreed.

Last month Mr Rowley wrote to Carol Potter, chief executive of NHS Fife, for an update and she replied: "The full business case is well progressed, however, we require approval of our outline business case from the Scottish Capital Investment Group before finalising and submitting the full business case.

"We understand that the main blockage in respect to progress and approvals relates to availability of capital funding.

"It is not likely that the government will be able to provide funding until 2026 at the earliest based on current projections.

"This project remains a priority for NHS Fife, and we remain ready to deliver it once we receive confirmation that capital funding is available.”