ATTENDANCES at the Victoria Hospital's A&E department fell by just over 15 per cent in the last 12 months.

The figures were part of performance report provided to Fife's Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board on Friday.

There were a total of 82,500 people who visited the unit in the last year compared to 98,036 in 2019.

The number of delayed discharges was down by 16.56 per cent.

During January to November 2020 the Partnership closed 332 complaints – which included 95 complaints closed by Social Care, and 237 closed by NHS Fife.

Of these, 214 (64 per cent) were identified as Stage one complaints, and 118 (36 per cent) were classified as Stage Two complaints.

Over this period, on average 73 per cent of Stage one complaints, and 15 per cent of Stage two complaints, were responded to within the statutory timescales.

Medical Director Chris McKenna said the second phase of coronavirus lockdown had seen people coming to A&E when required.

"We have not seen what we had seen in the first lockdown which is that dramatic fall off to presenting which had subsequent poor outcomes for people who had illnesses that was not covid but perhaps waited too long for fear of attending at hospital or facilities," he said.

"That has not been replicated through this prolonged second phase.

"The total number of attendances at A&E has fallen and this is mostly due to lockdown reducing the number of people presenting with minor injuries.

"It is not applicable in smaller peaks when everyone thinks it is a good idea to go on a sledge but people are not doing the things they would usually do and not contributing to A&E activity by being out on a Friday night."

Director of Nursing Helen Buchanan said covid had affected their complaints resolution times.

"Staff across all of health and social care are caught up doing work of the pandemic as well as everything else so have been unable to take full time to investigate complex complaints," she said.

"We do have a system set up where we keep complainants informed so if it is going to run over, we keep them informed."