DON'T come to A&E unless you really need to and help us ease the pressure on our staff and resources, health chiefs have urged Fifers.

There are more people going to the emergency department at the Victoria Hospital, partly due to rising Covid cases, but there are a "sizeable number" that should be going elsewhere.

The issue was raised by MSP Willie Rennie, who highlighted figures from Public Health Scotland that showed NHS Fife was among the worst performing A&E departments in Scotland, with only 81.4 per cent of patients seen within the four-hour target.

Only four health boards saw fewer people on time and he added: "The pressure on our local A&E departments is unsustainable.

"The total number of hospitalisations may have improved due to the vaccine, but we know the number of people catching Covid and having to self-isolate is spiralling.

"The real danger is to the wider health service and the impact on morale and resources.

"Heathcare staff have faced a gruelling year and the situation hasn't improved as the workload piles up there aren’t enough people to cope."

NHS Fife's deputy chief operating officer, Andrew Mackay, told the Times: “We have seen a particularly sharp increase in demand for our services over recent weeks due to a greater number of emergency admissions coupled with a rising prevalence of Covid-19 in our communities.

"We need the public to help us minimise these pressures by using our urgent care services responsibly.

“Our accident and emergency department is designed to care for those with a life-threatening emergency.

"While the majority of patients use this service appropriately, there continues to be a sizeable number of people attending who could be seen more appropriately by their nearest minor injuries unit, their local pharmacy or their GP.

"This adds to the pressure within the busy A&E department, leads to longer waiting times and makes it more difficult to maintain appropriate social distancing within waiting areas."

He continued: “Changes were made last year to urgent care provision in Scotland with the launch of the ‘Right Care, Right Place’ initiative.

"This new way of delivering urgent care has been designed to help people get the right care in the right place whilst reducing the pressure on busy frontline NHS services.

“Those with life-threatening conditions including suspected heart attacks or strokes, severe breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, or severe injury should continue to go straight to A&E or call 999.

“Anyone whose condition is not life-threatening should instead call NHS 24 on 111, day or night, where they can be assessed or directed towards the most appropriate service for them.”

For further information on where to access the right medical care, visit