We kept you waiting...

KIRKCALDY;'Ronnie Cook, at new A&E department at the Victoria Hospital'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
KIRKCALDY;'Ronnie Cook, at new A&E department at the Victoria Hospital'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

FIFe’s health chief has apologised for keeping patients waiting too long for emergency treatment.

The latest government statistics published this week showed a sharp drop in the number of patients being seen within the four hour target of arriving at the Kingdom’s accident and emergency departments.

Last November 92.5 per cent of patients in Fife were treated within the timescale, but this figure had dropped to 83.7 per cent the following month.

Vic transfer

That was just weeks before all A&E services at the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline were switched to a new wing at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital.

George Brechin, chief executive of NHS Fife, said he was confident the situation would improve as staff got used to working procedures in Kirkcaldy.

He said: “We are sorry that patients are waiting too long in our A&E department.

“While our clinical staff are working exceptionally hard, we know we need to improve our systems of working.

“We have planned a number of changes as part of the move of services from Dunfermline to Kirkcaldy.

“We expect our performance against the four hour target to improve over the coming weeks.”

Other figures published by the government this week showed NHS Fife still has a problem with bed blocking.

The problem occurs when patients are unable to leave hospital because they are waiting for care to be arranged.

Last month there were 64 delayed discharges in Fife, with 10 patients waiting longer than the current six week target period.

This was an improvement on the 156 delayed discharges from January last year, when 61 patients were outwith the target period.