A DECISION on out-of-hours care has been delayed again to allow consultation to be completed.

Since last April, out-of-hours care at Dunfermline's Queen Margaret Hospital has been running from 6pm-midnight Monday to Friday, and from 8am-midnight on weekends and public holidays, but between midnight and 8am patients have to go to Kirkcaldy's Victoria Hospital.

The issue had been due to be determined at an extraordinary meeting of the Fife Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board at the end of May, however, this meeting was cancelled.

The Partnership says the participation request process has not yet been fully completed and this is required before a decision can take place.

It is now hoped the service's future will be determined at the meeting of the Integration Joint Board on June 21.

It has now been over a year since the service was suspended due to medical and staff shortages.

Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing asked Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman for an update on the issue at Portfolio Questions in the Scottish Parliament last Wednesday.

"In particular, I expressed my concerns that matters in this regard appear to be dragging on and I invited the Cabinet Secretary to inform me when the new out-of-hours urgent care regime will come into effect," she explained.

“Ms Freeman told me that she understood my frustration but outlined that there were a number of processes still to go through before the matter reaches a satisfactory conclusion.

"She added that she has received assurances from the Health & Social Care Partnership that – assuming no further unplanned delays – the new out-of-hours regime should be in place before the winter this year.

“I very much hope that target timetable is one which can be met.”