A FIFE MSP has expressed "deep concern" at figures which show a sharp rise in the number of people dying after waiting more than four hours at A&E.

Roz McCall says the statistics, obtained through a freedom on information request, have revealed the number of deaths were five times more last year than they were in 2018.

Four years ago, there were five patients who died in the NHS Fife health board area's A&E departments after waiting more than four hours for treatment but this rose to 27 people in 2022.

Ms McColl has claimed that despite the selfless hard work of staff at the Victoria Hospital, these figures are "shocking and that they illustrate the Scottish Government's failure to get to grips with A&E waiting times".

"First and foremost my thoughts immediately turn to the loved ones of those who have passed away," she said.

"The loss of a loved one in any circumstances is heart-breaking for those involved, however to have it happen whilst the patient was waiting for treatment in an A&E department will be particularly hard to take.

"Despite the outstanding efforts of our NHS staff at the Victoria Hospital, these figures are just the latest in a series of poor indicators at the site in Kirkcaldy.

"In the post pandemic world, many across Fife are wondering whether the re-opening of the A&E at St Margaret's in Dunfermline would be wise as it would reduce the burden on staff at the Victoria whilst also helping to bring waiting times under control.

"The Scottish Government must urgently seek to get a grip of Scotland's NHS crisis, cut A&E wait times across the board and stop their distracting focus on constitutional issues."

Responding to the figures, a spokesperson from NHS Fife said: "The death of a loved one is always traumatic, particularly when it's unexpected or sudden.

"We would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who have died.

"The figures that were provided to the Scottish Conservatives as part of their FOI enquiry have been included in their press release without context and, as such, we would challenge their interpretation of the data.

"Without any context, these figures do not take cognisance of a complex range of important considerations, not least an individual's unique circumstances or health background."