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NHS Fife has started work on the development of a new Clinical Strategy, which will build upon national guidance and provide the blueprint for services for the next five years.

Increased life expectancy, driven by advances in medical science, and a rise in Fife’s population in general has created an environment where the health board will be providing care for an additional 32,000 patients over the next two decades. This, coupled with a subsequent increase in the complexity of needs for those requiring care, means it is necessary for NHS Fife to examine the way services are delivered and, where necessary, improve or reconfigure them to ensure it continues to deliver high quality, safe and effective care.

Over the coming months NHS Fife will work closely with senior clinicians, patients, carers, and other groups to review the provision of services, how they are currently delivered, and how they may best be delivered in future. The development of the Clinical Strategy, which will be formalised later this year, has been broken down into seven key focus areas which will regularly bring together senior figures from across each area to provide their unique expertise; urgent and 24/7 care, scheduled care, chronic conditions and frailty, cancer, palliative and end of life care, women and children’s services, mental health and learning difficulties, and e-health, estates and support services.

Central to the success of the Clinical Strategy will be feedback from the local population and NHS Fife will be in regular dialogue with communities across the region to ascertain priorities and consider their experiences as it looks to improve service provision.

Commenting, NHS Fife Medical Director and Clinical Strategy Lead, Dr Frances Elliot, said:

“The development of a new Clinical Strategy for Fife is a unique opportunity for NHS Fife to respond to a projected increase in population, consisting of more people living into old age, many of whom will have more complex health problems. It allows us to ensure we are best equipped to provide the best possible care, both now and in future.

“One of the central themes of this strategy will be devolving healthcare into communities and providing patients with the opportunity to be cared for within their own homes as much as possible, without having to come to hospital. Importantly, the final strategy will also be fully integrated with social care partners and we will work together closely to both improve general health and reduce health inequalities.”

Dr Elliot added:

“This Clinical Strategy will touch upon the care provided to everyone in Fife in some way or another – from new families at maternity, right through to end of life palliative care – and for it to be a success, we need to hear from all sections of the community; this feedback will be vital in forming a strategy that is person-centred in both its approach and its delivery.

“I would encourage people to play their role in ensuring healthcare in Fife is the best it can possibly be by visiting, or by attending one of the events that will be held across Fife over the coming weeks.”