NHS Fife has moved to reassure residents that the realignment of hospital services is not putting added pressure on its staff.
Health bosses told the Press this week that hospitals are not being negatively affected by the downgrading of Victoria Hospital’s accident and emergency department overnight, after an incident sparked complaints about staff pressures.
The statement came after a hospital insider claimed nursing staff are struggling to cope with extra patients being transferred to Queen Margaret Hospital from the Vic.
It followed an incident in the early hours of Monday morning when a 74-year-old woman went missing for six hours is the direct result of this.
The insider told the Press that at certain times patients are being left waiting on trolleys and chairs in corridors for beds at Queen Margaret’s ward eight, where Kirkcaldy patients are transferred from Victoria Hospital after 5 p.m. at the request of the Primary Care Practitioner.
The Press was told: “There is so much extra pressure on staff, and nurses in both hospitals are breaking their backs trying to keep up.”
However, NHS bosses have refuted the claims, saying the A&E move has had no negative effect on the hospitals.
A spokesman said: “By basing emergency medicine at Queen Margaret Hospital, we are able to ensure the stability of services and allow new working patterns to develop until the new wing opens at Victoria Hospital.
“We monitor the bed situation closely and opens additional beds when required. Queen Margaret Hospital has not been overtly affected by the transfer of patients.”
The spokesman added that staffing on the ward in question exceeded normal levels at the time.
He continued: “As is current practice, a small number of patient transfers from Victoria Hospital to Queen Margaret did occur on Sunday, but this did not place any undue pressure on A&E there.”