Scottish hospitals boosted by drop in delayed discharge cases

Written by Tom Freeman on 12 September 2018 in News

One in 13 beds remain blocked in Scotland despite improvements in many health boards

Hospital bed - Lynne Cameron/PA

The number of hospital beds being blocked by patients waiting to be discharged has fallen in the last year, the latest stats shown.

The figure remains high, with a total of 494,123 bed days lost by NHS Scotland last year as a result of someone being stuck in hospital while arrangements are made for them to transfer home or into social care.

It represents a six per cent drop from the previous year, but one in 13 beds in Scotland are occupied by someone who doesn’t need to be there.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the figures showed how Scotland needed to “increase the pace” of health and social care integration.

“I welcome the further six per cent reduction in bed days lost to delayed discharge that we saw in 2017/18. This follows on from a three per cent reduction in the previous year and a nine per cent drop in 2015/16.

"We want to continue to build on this progress. That's why it is vital that local health and social care partnerships develop a range of community based services with the key aim of keeping people healthy at home.”

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar said government had “broken its promise” to eliminate bed blocking.

“The vast majority of these patients are aged over 75.  The failure to properly tackle the social care crisis and delays in care assessments – the result of the SNP government’s £1.5 billion cut to council budgets – are causing this multi-million-pound scandal,” he said.

Regional health boards varied in their success. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde recorded only 3.1 per cent of their beds being blocked, while NHS Lothian has the highest daily average of beds blocked.

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