NHS FIFE has urged patients to only use Victoria Hospital's Accident and Emergency department for the most serious and life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

The board is continuing to see the number of people using the unit increase – particularly at weekends.

NHS Fife medical director Dr Chris McKenna said that they were continuing their efforts to combat the high level of patients attending at the A&E unit.

“NHS Fife continues to see high numbers of patients presenting at our Accident and Emergency. Accident and Emergency should only be used by those with the most serious and life-threatening illnesses or injuries," he said.

"Those presenting inappropriately put patient safety at risk by diverting vital medical resources from those who need it most.

“Our minor injuries services in Dunfermline, Cupar, Kirkcaldy and St Andrews can treat serious but not life-threatening injuries and you are likely to be seen much quicker than you would in Accident and Emergency.

"Furthermore, our comprehensive network of community pharmacies provides free, confidential, expert advice and treatment for a variety of common illnesses and complaints. NHS 24 also provides a free telephone service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

NHS Fife board members were told at their last meeting that in April, 94.7 per cent of patients attending A&E had waits of less than four hours from arrival to admission or discharge – just missing the Scottish Government target of 95 per cent.

A report by director of finance Carol Potter said that while Victoria Hospital had increased patient levels in comparison to previous years, the percentage of patients treated within the target time continued to be close to the standard and above the national average performance.

A group has now been formed to look at performance improvement strategies for the emergency department and will review breach reasons and trends as a starting point for potential service redesign.