Labour councillor Mark Hood has finally provided a response to community campaigner Linda Holt, who had been critical of Mr Hoods “Health Centre Campaign” which is currently being backed by Lochgelly Community Council.

Dear Sir

In reply to Ms Holt’s (Unhappy at attack on Health Centre stance, CFT pg12, May 5th) question ‘What have you…..done to address the health inequalities in Lochgelly’.

I championed the first Lochgelly Health Round Table Event attended by local GP’s and Health Practitioners in the area as well as representatives from the Community Council, Teachers, Social Workers, Community Workers, Housing Staff and representatives from Local Voluntary Groups. The Health Round Table Event set the priorities for improving health care in the town (e.g. a new Health Centre), improve services for patients with mental health conditions and better joined up services from across the Health Service, Fife Council and the Voluntary Sector.

Since the Lochgelly Health Round Table Event, I have been lobbying NHS Fife regarding progressing the business case for a new Health Centre. This was agreed last May and work began last year. The campaign kicked off by the Lochgelly Community Council, is to lobby the Scottish Government to ensure we get support for a new Health Centre in the new government. This has proved to be a success with all the major political parties supporting the campaign.

One in three GP appointments are taken by patients with mental health issues, it was identified at the Lochgelly Health Round Table that there was a lack of counselling services for people in this area. To meet this need I worked with 3rd sector organisations, and using the area committee budget, we invested £97k in new counselling services for patients in the Cowdenbeath area. I am also lobbying NHS Fife to ensure these new services are funded in the future.

The Lochgelly Practice has piloted the new social prescribing model that allows GP’s the opportunity to refer patients to a Health Worker who will link the patient to other services for example money advice, housing services and a range of various other key services.

Heath inequalities have existed in our community for generations and we need to take a long term view if we are to transform the health outcomes for local people. This is why we have invested in local facilities to get people active. The most recent example is the new MUGA at Lochgelly Public Park, this following the £250k investment in the refurbishment of Lochgelly Community Use School which upgraded the 3G pitches and invested in new gym equipment. We have also been successful at attracting funding for a new Regional Cycling Centre for the area and Fife’s first Rock Climbing Centre, Rockgelly. This as well as the new 3G training pitch in Cardenden.

As well as facilities we have funded new programs designed at getting people active, with the most significant being free summer swimming, the Quid-a-Kid Program. Our most recent addition being 50 free swimming lessons for P1 pupils in Lochgelly and Cardenden, now planned to be rolled out across the area next year.

I hope this answers Ms Holt’s questions. I cannot speak for other political parties in the area, but hopefully I have explained what local Labour Councillors have been doing to address health inequalities in our community.

It’s also worth noting NHS Fife is not a function of the Council and as Councillors we have little control over budget or policy decisions made by NHS Fife.

Yours Faithfully

Councillor Mark Hood


As yet there has still been no response from Lochgelly Community Council.

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13 Comments

  1. Mark Hood

    May 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Can I start by thanking Linda for giving me the oppertunity to showcase what the Labour councillors have been doing to address health inequalities in our community. I’m looking forward to our SNP councillors contribution on the issue, which given that the website is non-party political i expect to see shortly.

    I am disappointed about the comments at the start suggesting that you had to wait a long time before you got a reply. I was only made aware of the letter in last weeks CFT on wednesday evening and had a reply to the paper for Monday morning. I posted the reply on my FB page on Tuesday evening. Why do you think I should prioritise a reply to Linda over case work coming from local people?

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      May 12, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      If any political party wish to contribute, they are welcome to do so.

      I am disappointed about the comments at the start suggesting that you had to wait a long time before you got a reply. I was only made aware of the letter in last weeks CFT on wednesday evening and had a reply to the paper for Monday morning.

      I have been informed by a volunteer that the questions had been posted on your Facebook page previously but whoever is responsible for administering your page has been deleting comments from residents on a variety of topics. Maybe you missed the questions when they were originally posted on your page and no-one informed you that they had removed the questions from your Fb page?

      We welcome open debates from all, after all that is what democracy is all about. In a democratic country, people have a right to voice concerns without fear of being put down by councillors or politicians, just because what they say goes against the current political rhetoric.

      Edit: Added screenshot of Fb page (which shows that Cllr Hood had seen the letter earlier than he stated).

      Screenshot of Cllr Hood Fb page - 4th April

      Reply

  2. Mark Hood

    May 12, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Thats great I’m drafting an article that I would like to post on your site. Where do I send it?

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      May 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      You already have an account registered with the site. Please refer to the FAQ

      Reply

  3. Linda Holt

    May 12, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Cllr Hood – I think you are too ready to be disappointed in other people when it is clearly your own memory that is letting you down.

    The same questions were published in a letter from me in the Courier on April 4 2016. The letter is online at https://www.thecourier.co.uk/opinion/readers-letters/121324/debate-shows-only-labour-has-a-radical-plan/

    You definitely saw the letter because you posted a screen shot of it on your facebook page on the same day and then the following day engaged in a dialogue with me in the comments section below the post in which I pointed out that you were still avoiding answering my questions. This is what I wrote:

    “I don’t see why asking legitimate questions of elected representatives (eg why hasn’t NHS Fife been pushed on this years ago? What are you actually doing to help people in Lochgelly who have to wait weeks for a GP appointment to see a doctor sooner? What have you and your colleagues – of all parties if you like – done to address the health inequalities in Lochgelly over the last 10 years?) I notice you are still ignoring these questions and to impute to me a political motive, or wish to turn the health centre campaign into a political one, as a justification for ignoring these questions is not going to wash. What it looks like is that you don’t want to listen and don’t have good answers to the questions not just I but plenty of people in Lochgelly are asking (although they might have given up putting them to you in person or indeed going to community council meetings). Why is any criticism of this petition/you interpreted as an attack on the community of Lochgelly? It’s the opposite actually and if you really want to stand up for that community, you would be welcoming responses like mine as an opportunity to better understand and better respond to the very deep-seated problems (including political disengagement and disenchantment with Labour representation) afflicting Lochgelly.”

    You did not reply to this post. Doubtless you had more pressing casework to attend to.

    For the record, your reply to my second letter came after that letter was published in full on the Loch of Shining Waters website last week because the Central Fife Times published a heavily cut and edited version (without my permission). When it also appeared on the LOSW facebook page, the original letter attracted more than 1392 viewings, a fact I made you aware of by posting on your facebook page and suggesting that this number would contain hundreds of voters who might be interested in any answers you might have to my questions.

    Reply

    • Mark Hood

      May 12, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Why didn’t you just email or call me if you wanted an answer to your questions? I think people are a bit sceptical about your motives.

      Reply

      • Linda Holt

        May 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm

        Wasn’t my repeating to you in a conversation on facebook clear enough that I wanted answers to my questions? Or don’t you run your own facebook page?

        The truth is Cllr Hood that you thought you could ignore me because they were not questions you had good answers to (and I notice you still haven’t answered the specific questions about the rationale behind the petition), that Lochgelly Community Council could get the Central Fife Times to print an article containing a disgraceful and unfounded personal attack on me and that you could sit silently by as this attack was repeated by a community councillor at last night’s community council meeting. You and the community council evidently thought that blanking me and then attacking me would shut me up and I would give up either because I was bored or felt intimidated. I suspect this has happended to many people who have tried to raise ‘concerns’ with you or the community council in the past, which is why no one comes to community council meetings and the community council is so graphically unrepresentative of the community in Lochgelly (incidentally I am staggered that this is not a source of continual embarrassment and shame for you and the members of LCC).

        When I didn’t go away, and my criticisms and questions garnered ever more publicity, I assume someone more senior in Fife Labour took you aside and told you you had to respond. Hence your letter on the blog – which as it is completely different in style and tone, not to mention grammatical accuracy and spelling, from what you usually write, was clearly penned by someone else.

        Reply

  4. Anonymous

    May 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Linda – as a non political group I’m assuming your putting these questions to the SNP cllr?

    Reply

  5. Linda Holt

    May 12, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Hi Anonymous, I’m not a group, political or otherwise, I’m an individual!
    I haven’t put these questions to anyone in other parties because people in other parties have not been grabbing headlines with ill-thought-out campaigns which cannot succeed, and whose sole motive appears to be to build up their political profile.
    I have to say I find Cllr Hood’s constant sniping at the SNP childish – it’s nasty and completely misses the point which is that Cllr Hood has a duty to be accountable to people about what he is doing as their representative.
    What all this shows is that Cllr Hood is clearly not on top of his brief and is too easily distracted by assuming everyone else has the same destructive tribal motivation as he is betraying.

    Reply

  6. Mark Hood

    May 12, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Linda – I’m assuming your aware that NHS is not run by councillors and it’s been the SNP that have run the NHS for the last 9years. I’m sure you cllr Chisholm will pick this up in his answer.

    Reply

  7. Mark Hood

    May 12, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Linda – the campaign for a new health centre is succeeding. NHS Fife has agreed to draft a business case, all political groups are supporting it and over 1000 local people have signed the petition. Is this not progress?

    Before the Lochgelly Health round table this was not on the agenda. Surely that’s a good thing? You do want Lochgelly to get a new health centre??

    Reply

  8. Linda Holt

    May 12, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    I thought the petition was to go to the Scottish Government, and that NHS Fife has been drafting a business case for some time. Are you saying that NHS Fife is now drafting a business case BECAUSE OF your petition?
    I notice that you are still ignoring my original questions about the purpose of the petition, as well as the things I have pointed out above about your conduct as a councillor.

    Reply

  9. Mark Hood

    May 12, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    No the business case drafting started last year, we have been working on this since the Lochgelly Health Round table. The petition was to aimed at getting the support of the community and communicate this to the new Scottish Government, this has been a success. I thought that was clear in my reply.

    Reply

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