Fife A&E: Treatment target missed - some patients faced eight hour wait
New figures have shown that NHS Fife is still struggling to cope with pressure on its A&E department, despite lower attendances.
The statistics, published by Public Health Scotland reveal that NHS Fife continues to be among the worst performing Accident & Emergency departments in Scotland.
Of the 1121 people who attended A&E at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, only 73.3 per cent of patients were seen within the four-hour target, for the week ending September 26.
The figures showed 299 people waited for over four hours to be seen and 38 people waited over eight hours.
This is despite fewer people attending A&E than at any point over the past six months.
Only two weeks earlier, NHS Fife's A&E performance reached its lowest point on record, according to statistics that go back to Feb 2015.
Figures show that NHS Fife presently sits below the Scottish average of 76 per cent, with only three other health boards seeing fewer people on time.
The target set by the Scottish Government is 95 per cent.
Across Scotland, August was the worst month on record for waiting times at A&E. The Public Health Scotland figures show nationally that just 77.8 per cent of those who attended A&E in August were seen within the four-hour standard.
Claire Dobson, NHS Fife director of acute services, said staff in its emergency department are working incredibly hard and under significant pressure to continue to provide patients with the best possible standard of care.
She said “During this summer we have seen presentations in our emergency department far exceed what we would expect at this time of year, and even well beyond what we would see during the busy winter months.
"This comes at a time when our hospitals are already under considerable strain due to a sustained increase in the number of patients requiring inpatient care.
"Despite these unprecedented pressures, the staff in our emergency department continue to provide good quality care, with the vast majority of patients still seen within the four-hour standard. Crucially, patients are triaged to ensure those who require the most urgent treatment are seen quickly.”
Willie Rennie, North East Fife MSP, said the pressure on local A&E departments is "unsustainable.”
He said: “It’s clear that some people are still going to A&E because of the limited capacity in GP surgeries and capacity issues in the rest of the NHS and social care system.
"Bad news week in week out is having a wider impact on morale and resources, while staff are still on the back foot and reeling from the pandemic. Ministers need to fulfil their promises and come up with an urgent support package to turn this situation around."
North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain added: "NHS Fife is facing serious difficulties and the longer this goes on the more impact it will have on staff morale and patient care.
"No one said it would be easy to reduce the backlog caused by the pandemic but after six months, the situation is getting worse not better."