Patient complaint investigations have been suspended by NHS Fife due to pressures on the workforce.

The Scottish Government and Scottish Public Services Ombudsman have agreed that they can pause some of the process after it was acknowledged the health board would not be able to meet target deadlines.

It's expected to impact stage two complaints the most.

NHS Fife director of nursing, Janette Owens, said: "Complaints are really challenging now as people who write reports are tied up.

"We will not be able to meet timescales.

"We are working hard to make it as timely as it can be and maintain communication that complaints will be delayed."

The NHS has a two-stage complaints procedure. There’s also the right to take a complaint to the ombudsman if you are unhappy with the board’s investigation.

If the complaint is straightforward and can be easily resolved, the aim is for staff to try to sort it out in five working days or fewer.

More serious and complex cases, that have not been resolved at an earlier stage, need to be investigated.

The health board should respond within 20 days but they're lagging well behind on the national targets for both stage one and two complaints.