ELDERLY and vulnerable West Fifers were left out in the freezing cold after more than 260 people turned up for the jab in Dunfermline than had been expected.

Vaccination appointments were overbooked with the over-70s lining up outside East End Park in the snow last Wednesday, with some told they faced a wait of an hour-and-a-half before they could be seen.

One Press reader said he'd walked away and rebooked rather than wait in sub-zero temperatures, while NHS Fife said 40-50 people had to be rescheduled.

Another man, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "It seems to be the flu vaccination shambles all over again. With a lot more at stake.

"We turned up at East End Park in mid-afternoon to be met by a queue from the side door overlooking the Aldi car park right out to the pavement.

"A bloke with a clipboard informed us that there would be a wait of around an hour-and-a-half, the first bit of this being outside, with about 20 people ahead of us.

"It was cold and there were some very angry remarks."

When he did get inside after 15 minutes, there was a "long, zig-zag, airport-type queue" before forms were taken and he managed to get a seat in a waiting area.

He added: "The 'jag' bit of the procedure was over in minutes, after all that wait!

"I have to record an appreciation of the staff at the centre who worked quickly and efficiently enough to cut that threatened delay down to about an hour.

"A bookings malfunction wasn't their fault but it was still a long, cold wait and, remember, by definition, all the people there were, like us, ancient!"

It follows problems on Monday, February 9, after "errors" with the national booking system left people queuing outside clinics in Fife in severe weather, with one elderly woman reportedly collapsing due to suspected hypothermia in Lochgelly.

Some also had to go home without receiving their jab.

NHS Fife apologised the next day while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’m really sorry about what happened in Fife, (NHS) Fife are really sorry – it shouldn’t happen.”

The board had said: "Working with colleagues in the national programme team and National Services Scotland, we are now clear that the issue was caused by significantly greater numbers of local people being allocated appointments through the National Scheduling Tool than we had capacity to manage.

“Unfortunately, this resulted in some people experiencing unacceptable queues for their appointments and at some locations this was outside in the wintry weather."

Aware of the problems, rather than cancel bookings NHS Fife decided to increase staffing and expand their clinics to cope with the extra appointments.

The board said: “The result of the errors with the National Schedule Tool means that instead of performing 37,000 COVID-19 vaccinations in Fife this week, we will likely carry out around 41,000."

However, there were around 270 overbookings last Wednesday and one woman told the Press she received a letter to say her appointment on Friday had been rescheduled for this week.

An NHS Fife spokesperson said: "There was an issue for a period of time at East End Park, all around the middle of the day.

"The booking issues that happened earlier in the week was a driving factor.

"It was resolved fairly quickly, as East End is a large stadium they were able to create a waiting area inside."

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley wants the over-70s to be able to get their second jab at their GP surgery.

He said the reason NHS Fife were not doing this was because it's more expensive than using the vaccination clinics.

Mr Rowley said: "Given the absolute chaos and misery caused this week for individuals trying to get to the hubs and then the massive waiting times in the cold, I am arguing that people must be put before cost.

"I am happy that people below 70 should be able to access the hubs but the over-70s must be treated the same way as the over-80s when it comes to getting their second jag. We cannot see a repeat of this week."