That’s the view of a number of the region’s politicians who say they have been told by senior staff at NHS Fife that patients referred to NHS Tayside are being refused treatment in a number of cases.
Patients in north east Fife have had the fall back option for many years to choose to be treated by NHS Tayside in some cases, but now, Liberal Democrat Councillor Tim Brett, says that option is now no longer the case.
“It has been made clear to me that NHS Tayside are refusing referrals from NHS Fife and most concerning is that this is happening more often,” said Cllr Brett, who is also a member of of the Integrated joint board for Fife.
He added: “The matter has been raised with me by senior staff at NHS Fife as well as GPs and patients.
“We are supposed to have a national health service and in particular, neighbouring health boards should be working closely together to benefit patients.
“I am writing to the newly appointed CEO at NHS Tayside to highlight the issues to him and ask what is being done to address it.”
Meanwhile, Willie Rennie, North east fife MSP, said the situation had now become worrying for patients in Fife.
He said: “For people in North Fife, having the option of being treated by NHS Tayside has been an accepted norm for many years. In fact, the services in Tayside are being presented by health bosses in Fife as part of the service redesign here.
“Local people tell me that there’s already a capacity problem at NHS Tayside and raised the issue with regards to the proposed closure of our GP out of hours service in St Andrews.
“I am very worried to learn that NHS Fife doctors are now telling us that referrals are being repeatedly refused by NHS Tayside and the problem is increasing.
“We need to know more about what is going wrong, so patients can get the care they need in a timely manner.”
Responding to the claims, a spokesman for NHS Tayside said: “Given that neither politician provide any concrete examples of patients being refused, we can only clarify that there has been no process change in our response to clinical referrals or to our acceptance of appropriate referrals from Fife.
“Tayside and Fife Out-Of-Hours (OOH) Services have a long standing agreement in place so that patients living in Tayport, Newport and Newburgh have the choice of being seen at the Primary Care Emergency Centres in Dundee or Perth.
“Since April 2018, Tayside has agreed to temporarily extend this arrangement to include Cupar, Leuchars and St Andrews.
“This operates between midnight to 8am.”