The closure of the St Andrews out-of-hours service may be reconsidered in a new discussion, following months of protests by students and locals in St Andrews.
In September 2018, The Saint reported that students and locals were calling to reinstate out-of-hours GP services in St Andrews.
The Fife Health and Social Care Partnership temporarily removed the services in April 2018 for three months, due to a shortage of doctors and nurses in the Fife area.
This time period was later extended until January, in which a vote was due to be held regarding out-of-hours services throughout Fife.
Students and locals alike protested against this decision, due to the fact that both proposals to be voted on by the FHSCP included no option to re-instate the service in St Andrews, with a possible centralisation of services to Kirkcaldy.
On 20 December 2018, Willie Rennie, MSP for North East Fife, posted an update on Facebook, informing the public that the Board of FHSCP has agreed to consider options for out-of-hours services in North East Fife.
Mr Rennie continued, “I am sure that the Partnership will reach the conclusion that the service should remain open in St Andrews so that people are not required to travel to Kirkcaldy for help.”
This decision follows months of activism by St Andrews students, staff, and local residents, with an online petition started by Mr Rennie reaching over 6,000 signatures.
Students of the University canvassed the town to collect signatures, made videos detailing the necessity of the service, shared the issue widely on social media, and gathered testimony from individuals who had used the service themselves. They also travelled to Kirkcaldy to attend meetings of the FHSCP and protest the decision.
Camilla Duke, Rector’s Assessor, who had an active involvement in the movement, spoke to The Saint, saying, “We are heartened by the re-consideration of plans for out of hours care in St Andrews.
“All of our efforts over the past several months, including collecting testimony, attending consultations, and, of course, the protest in Kirkcaldy, have contributed to this change, and we will not rest until access to out-of-hours healthcare is ensured for the people of St Andrews.
“Let’s keep fighting to turn this small victory into a big one.”
In a video posted on Facebook, Mr Popovic urges the viewers to “be ready to fight as hard as you can for the Out of Hours service ahead of the new decision.”