A decision on the future of out-of-hours GP services across Fife is to be delayed by at least a month.
Health and social care chiefs had been due to reveal a potential lifeline for weekend and evening services in St Andrews and Glenrothes at a crunch meeting on Friday.
But they have been unable to complete talks with Glenrothes community groups under the terms of a participation request due to “the pressure of time”.
Michael Kellet, director of Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, said that while significant progress had been made in relation to the St Andrews service, proposals for out-of-hours care would no longer be on the Integration Joint Board’s agenda on April 26.
Mr Kellet has instead proposed convening an extra-ordinary meeting of the IJB for May 28 to discuss the issue.
The delay has been described as frustrating by North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie , who has campaigned with local communities to retain out-of-hours care at St Andrews Hospital.
But he said he was encouraged by the suggestion that a positive outcome was close.
“This delay is frustrating as it means it will be even longer before we can get a positive outcome for the GP out-of-hours service in north east Fife,” he said.
“However, it is important that the officers and the board get the consultation and participation right so that the decision is robust and can last.
“It is very positive that Michael Kellet has confirmed in writing that significant progress has been made on the north east Fife solution.
“That confirms what we have been told and it is good news.”
The Liberal Democrat MSP added: “I would urge the partnership to ensure that there is no further delay so we can have a positive outcome for St Andrews before the summer.
“A swift implementation could then follow to deliver a full time service back to north east Fife.”
The partnership had proposed permanently closing the out-of-hours services in St Andrews and Glenrothes and centralising them in Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
A petition against the move attracted almost 6,000 signatures and 2,000 postcard objections.
The IJB postponed a final decision in December to allow time to come up with a way forward, including a transport policy for north east Fife.