NHS FIFE has branded abuse received by nurses going about their duties during the COVID-19 outbreak as "unacceptable".

Some members of the public have lambasted staff for wearing uniforms in public, believing that it's creating an infection risk.

The health board said much of the abuse stemmed from a "misunderstanding" but added that "any form of abuse towards our staff, physical or verbal, is unacceptable".

Helen Buchanan, director of nursing at NHS Fife, said: "We've received reports recently that some of our nurses, particularly our community nursing staff, have received abuse when they're out and about undertaking their normal duties.

"Some of those duties include going to the supermarket or the pharmacy for patients during this time as some of our patients are in isolation.

"This is to assure the public that actually these staff are going about their normal duties and are looking after patients within the community services."

The board said that the source of the abuse "is likely to emanate from a misunderstanding around their uniforms, which are NHS Scotland standard issue and identical to the uniforms worn by nurses working in our acute hospital".

They added: "For infection control reasons, our acute hospital nursing staff are subject to strict requirements around their uniforms and not permitted to wear them outwith the acute hospital environment.

"Community nursing staff are not subject to the same infection control measures as their duties are very different and, as such, are required to wear their uniforms in the line of duty."

Ms Buchanan acknowledged: "There is confusion about the uniforms that acute staff and community staff wear as they are the same. All nurses wear the NHS Scotland uniform.

"Our nurses and staff are really well-versed in infection control precautions and it's very rare you would see a nurse from the hospital in uniform outside of that setting."