BOSSES at NHS Fife have moved to reassure patients in the wake of new figures which showed hundreds of sick and injured people waited more than 12 hours to be seen in accident and emergency.
The statistics revealed in the year 2011-2012, 476 patients spent at least half a day at Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline or Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy to receive medical attention from A&E staff.
The figures - released last week by health secretary Nicola Sturgeon - are higher than those of the busy emergency rooms in Scotland’s two biggest cities.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde kept only six patients waiting for similar periods, while in NHS Lothian the equivalent figure was 130.
The information collected for the figures includes January when A&E services were transferred from Queen Margaret to the new £170 million wing at the Vic.
John Wilson, NHS Fife chief executive, agreed the performance was unacceptable, but said improvements were being made.
He said the health authority is now meeting the targets set by the Scottish Government.
He said: “Since the end of March, we have worked hard to overcome the deficiencies which we identified as contributing to patients being delayed in accident and emergency and minor injury units.
“This included more Allied Health Professional staff working at weekends; improved discharge planning - including additional discharges at the weekends; improved early warning systems to enable swifter action to be taken within the four hours and advertising for four new consultant positions.”
Mr Wilson said work was also underway in community hospitals and with Fife Council social care services to ensure patients are being transferred from A&E to the next stage of their treatment.
He added: “Our local information shows we are now working within the Scottish Government standard of treating, admitted or discharging 98 per cent of patients attending for emergency within four hours.
“This is testament to the work and dedication of staff across NHS Fife.”