SCOTTISH health secretary Neil Gray has agreed to visit Lochgelly for talks on a new £13 million health centre.

Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing told the minister the long-delayed medical facility for the town was a "priority" and invited him to Fife for discussions.

READ MORE: Calls for more talks on "overdue" Lochgelly Health Centre

She said: “There is a very compelling case for a new Lochgelly medical centre.

"Not just that it needs replaced - that is a given, frankly - but that it should be a priority, notwithstanding the very challenging capital budget landscape.

"That is what I told the new Cabinet Secretary for Health when I met with him recently.

Central Fife Times: Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing said her invitation to Scottish health secretary Neil Gray to visit Lochgelly has been accepted. Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing said her invitation to Scottish health secretary Neil Gray to visit Lochgelly has been accepted. (Image: Newsquest)

“As well as leaving him in no doubt whatsoever about that, I extended an invitation to Mr Gray to visit Lochgelly and I am pleased to report that he happily agreed to do so.

“I have a conference call this week with the head of the practice at the medical centre and I look forward to discussing the next steps in securing the improvements needed.”

Locals have been calling for the David Street facility - which NHS Fife admitted was "not fit for purpose" - to be replaced since 2012 and the centre was to be built by 2019 but it's been held up. 

A year ago, the Scottish Government said money would not be available until the "second half of the decade" and now there's a pause on any new capital projects. 

Last month Mid Scotland and Fife Labour MSP Alex Rowley wrote to Mr Gray asking for talks on the ongoing saga which has seen plans for new health centres in Lochgelly and Kincardine put on hold.

He had said: “People in Fife have been waiting too long already for these essential replacements – a replacement health centre in Lochgelly was supposed to be delivered by 2019, and the first announcement of replacement for the health centre in Kincardine was in 2016.

“So, I am tired of the SNP using the current financial situation to excuse their total inaction on these issues over the last 17 years."

And earlier this month the Friends of Lochgelly Health Centre said they wanted to bring together representatives from the centre, health board, politicians and Fife Council officials to discuss a way forward.

The group said the town had grown considerably due to new housebuilding and added: "Careful consideration is always given to the impact of this growth on local schools and action is taken accordingly to ensure the schools can cope with any potential increase in school pupil numbers.

"It would be reasonable to assume that the same careful consideration is given to the availability and accessibility of health care.

"Given that Lochgelly Health Centre was identified as in dire need of replacement well over a decade ago it is safe to assume that no reasonable consideration has, in fact, been given to meeting current and future needs."