NHS Fife praised for delivering in challenging times

Tricia Marwich, chairman NHS Fife, Maureen Watt Scottish minister for mental health and Paul Hawkins, NHS Fife chief executive.
Tricia Marwich, chairman NHS Fife, Maureen Watt Scottish minister for mental health and Paul Hawkins, NHS Fife chief executive.
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The performance of NHS Fife healthcare over the last year has been described as “exemplary” by a Scottish Government Minister.

Maureen Watt MSP, Scottish Government minister for mental health added that the service in Fife had gone “over and beyond” its expectations as it continues to meet the changing challenges of delivering healthcare to the region.

The minister’s comments came as NHS Fife delivered its annual review at Kirkcaldy Hospital which gave an opportunity for members of the public, patients, families and carers to look at the Board’s performance over the year and the innovative programmes and developments which are improving patient care in Fife.

The review also brought a timely boost for the 9000-plus health staff who were particular praised for delivering a quality of service in challenging financial circumstances.

“In terms of finance, NHS Fife has done really well over the last year and Audit Scotland has given it a clean bill of health,” said the minister.

“I think that is in a large amount due to the staff who have gone above and beyond what one would expect of them, and their performance has been exemplary.”

The review also noted that good performance has been maintained in a number of key areas, with 95.4% of patients attending A&E at Victoria Hospital seen within the four hour target, meeting the standard and above the national average.

More than 90% of patients completed treatment within 18 weeks of referral, again meeting the standard and outperforming the Scottish average of 84.9%; 96% of cancer patients were treated within 31 days from decision to treat, above the national standard; and 5488 of alcohol interventions were completed exceeding the standard of 5448.

However, areas of performance needing further work were also highlighted.

Those included a continual decline in the percentage of patients receiving cancer treatment within 62 days of urgent referral, and a rise in the number of patients waiting longer than the 12-week treatment time guarantee.

Although falling short of the national standard, improvement was noted in both Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) waiting times and incidence of Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteraemia (SABS).

Chief executive Paul Hawkins said: “NHS Fife strives to constantly improve services and it is encouraging to see that our innovative programmes are not only making our hospitals safer but are making a positive difference to the healthcare experiences of patients and their families.

“We have maintained good performance in key areas and are making inroads in areas where further work is necessary.

“Despite a challenging year, we have also delivered a breakeven position financially, with our accounts receiving a clean bill of health from Audit Scotland.

“In a changing landscape, we remain committed to delivering the very best care to the people of Fife.”

NHS Fife chairman Tricia Marwick also took the opportunity to highlight a number of successes including NHS Fife’s patient safety programme, which, she said, had attracted national recognition.

The former presiding officer at Holyrood, who has been in her new health role for just six months, said she had been impressed by the “many innovative ways” in which healthcare was being approached and delivered in Fife.