It’s time to get better

Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy
Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy

AN ACTION plan to improve waiting times in accident and emergency has been drawn up by NHS Fife.

The move comes after it was revealed the A&E at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy is not meeting waiting time targets laid down by the Scottish Government.

A team of clinicians and managers from other Scottish health boards and government representatives came up with recommendations when they visited the Kingdom last month.

Following a meeting of the NHS Fife operational division committee last week, John Wilson, chief executive, said: “One area of poorer performance is patient flow and the four-hour target for either treatment or discharge.

“We are expected to meet a 98 per cent target on that. We should be striving to meet that target because it’s a good indicator of patient care, but we have struggled to achieve that.


“We have a commitment to improving the position in A&E. We have seen some improvements recently and we need those to continue.”

He added: “We have an action plan for taking forward these recommendations and I am confident we will see an improvement in the coming weeks and months.”

Meanwhile, a report which went before last week’s operational division committee showed that in January outpatient waiting times soared while the transfer of services to the new wing was ongoing.

A total of 129 outpatients waited for more than 12 weeks from referral to first appointment at the start of the year - this was an increase of 91 from the previous month.

Waiting up

Patients waiting for a first appointment was 10,488 - 215 more than the previous month and 1,269 more than the same period the previous year.

In January there were 64 delayed discharges with 10 patients waiting over six weeks and 25 patients waiting over four weeks.

Dave Stewart, operational division chairman, said: “First we built the building on time and on budget, then we moved in staff and services and the third step for us now is to look at how we can improve performance. It will take time to see a real measurable improvement.

“To improve our waiting times in A&E we have to first identify what the biggest source of delay is and that’s waiting for a bed.

“To improve this we have to look at the whole system.” He added: “I am not expecting immediate results but steady improvements and we won’t be able to measure that until the autumn.”