NHS Fife says it is working to reduce waiting times and prioritise patients with the greatest clinical need despite current pressure on services.

The pledge comes after former Dunfermline MP Willie Rennie, MSP for North East Fife, expressed his concerns over figures which showed that the health board was underperforming in hospital admissions.

He said the 18 weeks Referral to Treatment (RTT) standard was intended to see 90 per cent of patients treated within 18 weeks, covering the time from of a GP referral up to the point where each patient is admitted to hospital for treatment.

However NHS Fife has "consistently underperformed" since February with only 68.7 per cent treated in June against a national average of 74.1 per cent.

“These figures are disappointing, with only a modest increase in June from the numbers in May, showing an ongoing problem of Fifers waiting too long for hospital treatment," said Mr Rennie.

“Healthcare workers have been asked to do the impossible over the last 18 months. We need the Scottish Government to work with them to make sure they have the resources they need and to ensure patients are treated quickly and effectively.

“All too often I have heard from constituents that are in desperate need of care and treatment, and not getting the help they need. Scottish ministers were aware that this problem was coming and promised in the election that they would provide the resources to help our struggling healthcare services, but the exact opposite has happened.

“The Scottish Government has set these targets; it is their duty and responsibility to help health boards meet them.”

Although the figures showed under performance for hospital admissions, the Public Health Scotland statistics showed that the total number of patients seen had increased with NHS showing the highest increase with a rise of 49.3 per cent.

NHS Fife Director of Acute Services, Claire Dobson, said there continued to be "considerable pressures" on healthcare services in Fife after a significant increase in patients requiring treatment for both COVID-related and non COVID-related conditions over a number of months.

“Whilst the Fife position at the end of June is below the Scottish average, Fife has also reported a large increase in the number of patients seen," she added. “Despite the pressures on services, we are working to minimise the time people wait to be seen.

"Importantly, clinicians across the various specialities are triaging patients to ensure those with the greatest clinical need are prioritised to be seen most quickly.”