PATIENTS are waiting far longer than the national target for a response to serious complaints made to NHS Fife.

Figures presented to board members reveal that no Stage 2 grievances were resolved within 20 working days in October, the most recent reporting period.

According to the Scottish Government objective, by March this year 50 per cent should be addressed within that time, with this due to rise to 65 per cent by March 2024.

Health chiefs confirmed that there had been year-on-year improvement in the area, with the number of complaints closed increasing from 88 in the same period in 2021 to 149 in 2022.

The handling of new complaints is not included in the data due to closure of a backlog and an additional metric is being created.

The provisional figure for this in October is 10.3 per cent.

The number of open complaints at month end has reduced by 25 per cent from 191 in July to 142 in October. Of these, 52 per cent were awaiting assessments while 37 per cent were in the approval process.

Janette Keenan, director of nursing, said: "We are still really struggling with the 20-day complaints although I am pleased to see that this month we are sitting at 16 per cent so we are starting to go up again.

"That's been a huge amount of work done in our complaints management.

"The number of complaints closed each month, for example 88 in the period last year to 149 this year, the number of open complaints has significantly reduced from 191 in July to, at the time of the report, 142 and that's continuing to reduce.

"The patient experience team has been developing processes to identify persistent delays and to make sure improvements are happening there."

Digital solutions are being reviewed to streamline the process with a shared platform.

The health board is recruiting a support officer and an administrator to focus on the administration and navigation of complaints.