As the number of new cases of COVID-19 across Fife continues to rise, we are seeing an increase in demand on our services and we are asking the public to help us, to help them to ensure that they can receive the right care, in the right place at the right time.

Dr Chris McKenna, Medical Director at NHS Fife;

“We currently have 12 patients in hospital requiring care for COVID-19 and unfortunately, we expect this number to increase over the next few weeks.

“As part of our plans, we are operating our surge wards at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy to provide additional capacity at this time as well as additional capacity at Queen Margaret Hospital.

“Our GPs are also very busy, seeing an increase in those who are feeling very unwell with the virus and a proportion of these do require hospital admission.

“What is different at this time is that there are more emergency surgical and medical patient admissions than during the previous waves.

"All of our health and care services are under increasing strain from this demand. We also have a number of staff self-isolating, which is adding to the challenge.

"All steps are being taken to manage patients as safely as possible within Fife’s health care services, however we also need the public to play their part.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of the general public presenting at our emergency department, despite being given information on NHS 24 as well as suitable alternatives for care.

"To ensure you have the fastest access to the treatment you need, anyone with a non-life-threatening condition who would usually go to A&E should call NHS 24 on 111 first, day or night, to be directed to the right NHS service.

“With the easing of lockdown restrictions, we would also ask that the public continue to follow the FACTS: Face coverings in enclosed spaces, Avoid crowded places, Clean your hands and surfaces regularly, Two-metre social distancing, Self-isolate and book a test if you develop coronavirus symptoms.

“It is also vital that all those aged 18 or over get both vaccines and should look to take two lateral flow tests a week or a PCR test from one of our testing centres if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 - new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.