TEMPORARY alterations are to be made to the appointment system at a West Fife medical centre to deal with changes to its GP cover.

The measures at Valleyfield Medical Practice will see appointments prioritised on clinical need and urgency.

A statement from NHS Fife said the move was necessary because of the departure of two doctors and the reduction in hours of another.

It added that work was ongoing to fill the vacancies but this had been affected by the UK-wide shortage in GPs.

"The efforts to recruit GPs to the practice are ongoing, with the net cast as wide as possible to attract applicants and ensure suitable appointments," it said.

"The reduction in GP cover at Valleyfield means it is necessary for the practice to make temporary changes to the way in which appointments are allocated so that it can continue to provide urgent care to those who patients who require it."

NHS Fife says that in the coming weeks, the practice will only be offering urgent on-the-day appointments for all patients.

"This is only intended to be a short-term measure to help support and maintain services until such times as appointments are made," said the statement.

"To help support the existing clinical team within the practice and to minimise the impact on patients, additional support is being provided by locum cover, a specialist mental health nurse, physiotherapist and a practice pharmacist.

"Patients should be assured that despite the considerable pressures on the practice, patients who urgently need to be seen will continue to be able to do so. Similarly, repeat prescriptions will be unaffected and patients are asked to make any requests when they have seven to 10 days' supply remaining.

"The team at Valleyfield Medical Practice are working under challenging circumstances and will endeavour to support patients to ensure they receive the appropriate treatment.

"We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding during this difficult period and would remind patients that all practice staff should always be treated with dignity and respect when carrying out their duties."