THE go-ahead for a replacement £3.9million health centre in Kincardine is being sought from the Scottish Parliament.

The existing premises in Kilbagie Street have been described as "not fit for purpose" and a preferred site for a new-build, next to Tulliallan Primary School, was identified in July 2017.

At that time, Claire Dobson, of the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, said that, at the earliest, the new centre could be open by August 2019. However, it is now predicted to be 2021.

A report to the NHS Fife board explained: "The current building and configuration is not fit for purpose, the building does not work for modern health and social care delivery, with corridors and treatment rooms which do not meet minimum standards, areas which do not enable disabled access and no storage."

It added: "The office accommodation available for the administrative functions is well below the minimum standards and staff facilities are insufficient for the 21 staff working in the building on a daily basis as well as the wide range of visiting colleagues."

Lack of available space means that around 2,000 patients from Kincardine currently have to travel to Clackmannan – where the same GP practice operates a second health centre – to see a health professional.

However, with no direct public transport between the two facilities, an appointment can often take up to three hours out of a patient’s day.

Last week, NHS Fife approved a submission to the Scottish Government Capital Investment Group as part of the next stage of a laborious process, with an outline business case and full business plan still to come before a brick is laid.

The health board started looking at replacing Kincardine Health Centre in 2016 after stating the building had "reached the end of its economic life as a clinical facility".

The former police station was built in the 1930s and has been modified considerably throughout its lifetime, now sitting at three times its original size.

It currently "has no capacity for further growth" with a maintenance backlog standing at £99,000.

The practice is contracted by NHS Forth Valley, with some community services provided by NHS Fife, and there are around 25,000 attendances per year, or 96 attendances per day.

It has a "practice population" of just under 3,200 patients and one of the drivers for change is the significant future growth in the older population in the area.

NHS Fife said that modern, safe and fit-for-purpose premises would allow them to fully integrate health and social care, offer an increased range of services, target health inequalities, improve accessibility and give staff a better working environment.