NEW FIGURES from the British Heart Foundation have revealed that NHS Fife patients are waiting longer than six weeks for echocardiograms. 

The statistics showed that in June 2023, 340 people were waiting for an echocardiogram in NHS Fife, an increase of 25 per cent from the same period a year before.

Of those waiting, 57.6 per cent of patients had been waiting for longer than the Scottish Government’s target of six weeks and 16 patients had been waiting for over a year.

Graeme Downie, Scottish Labour candidate for Dunfermline, said: “Cardiology is one of the most critical services provided by the NHS, both in emergencies and, as importantly, providing treatments that prevent admissions and improve the quality of life for people in Dunfermline.

“I have frequently raised issues around Cardiology waiting times with NHS Fife and while staff continue to do fantastic work, it is clear both they and patients are suffering from 17 years of the SNP’s failure to properly manage our NHS. 

"We cannot tolerate long cardiology waits that lead to lives in Dunfermline being lost that could otherwise have been saved.”

However, NHS Fife has said that figures have improved. 

A spokesperson commented: “Demand for Echocardiograms (Echos) has grown, with a 20 per cent increase in the number of diagnostic tests completed from 2022 to 2023.

"Waiting times have improved between June and December 2023, with a significant reduction in the number patients waiting over 92 days for a scan.  

“NHS Fife continues to focus on improving waiting times and has increased in the number of Echo appointments available where possible.”