NHS Fife have identified their clinical priorities to be carried out as they reveal plans to restart a range of services.

The health board has published a draft plan after all non-urgent activity was stood down in hospitals in March, which saw many people in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area waiting for such things as replacement joints facing lengthy delays.

The decision enabled health boards to respond to the challenge of COVID-19 and to prioritise patients with the most urgent clinical needs to ensure that they could continue to receive life saving treatment safely during the pandemic.

NHS Fife has this week revealed that a number of treatments and services have now been prioritised, with the short-term focus on urgent and cancer care.

As part of the mobilisation plan they submitted to the Scottish Government earlier this month, the following priorities are scheduled for the first phase of the plan: critical care, unscheduled care, primary care, cancer, mental health and capacity and flow.

Dr Christopher McKenna, NHS Fife medical director, said: "We want to remobilise clinical services as quickly and as safely as we possibly can, however, it is important to be aware that this process will likely be gradual and driven by clinical need.

"A significant amount of work was undertaken to prepare healthcare services in the weeks leading up to the first positive cases of COVID-19.

"These measures ensured that as an organisation we remained resilient ahead of the anticipated increase in demand and allowed us to manage our services safely and effectively, even when demand was at its peak.

“While the aspiration remains to return to full service as soon as is practically possible, it is crucial that we do so safely and in a manner that allows us to continue to meet the urgent and immediate health needs of the population."

Another part of their mobilisation plan will focus on sustained management of in-patient numbers to ensure there remains sufficient capacity to manage any potential future increase in the numbers of patients requiring care after contracting COVID-19.

NHS Fife say that as services start to resume patients should expect to see many of these delivered in a very different manner than they would have been previously.

The need to ensure physical distancing means that the number of face-to-face consultations will be reduced.

However, both urgent and non-urgent consultations are now being supported by technological innovations such as video consultations.

More information can be found via the NHS Fife website.