Students stage successful protest against closure of GP out of hours service

‘Unfortunately, the members of the Fife Health Board meeting in Kirkcaldy did not take the time to speak with us yesterday, but we won’t stop speaking up on this issue until they listen.’


Students from St. Andrews yesterday organised a protest against the closure of the GP out of hours service, meaning that the weekend and evenings GP service would no longer be available at both the community hospital, as well as Glenrothes Hospital.

The campaign to prevent this closure has been running for some time, however the movement gathered real momentum back in October when a petition with over 6,000 signatures was presented to NHS Fife, demanding that the issue be resolved.

The closure of the GP out of hours service would mean centralising weekend and evening GPs, so if you needed to get to a doctor at those times you'd have to travel to Kirkaldy or Dunfirmline, both of which are a considerable distance on public transport, or even by car. Particularly in a town where so many students and locals rely largely on public transport to get around, this measure has been deemed entirely impractical.

MSP Willie Rennie and University Rector Srdja Popovic have both thrown their weight behind the campaign. The Rector's Assessor Camilla Duke told the St Andrews Tab:

"I was really heartened at the enthusiasm we were able to generate around this important issue, which came to a head on Tuesday with the protest. The Wellbeing team and the Rector's Committee worked hard to make this happen, and I really hope our efforts will not continue to be ignored by the Fife Health Board.

"Out-of-hours GP service is crucial for those living in the East Neuk, with the especially vulnerable student and elderly populations. Unfortunately, the members of the Fife Health Board meeting in Kirkcaldy did not take the time to speak with us yesterday, but we won't stop speaking up on this issue until they listen."

MSP Willie Rennie also shared this further post on his Facebook earlier today:

"Thank you once again to everyone who signed the petition to keep the GP out of hours facility in St. Andrews."

His post also stated that there will be a further meeting on 20th December with the board of Fife Social Care and Health Partnership in which a delegation from the campaign will be in attendance.