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by Tom Freeman
20 January 2015
£100m to fight bed-blocking

£100m to fight bed-blocking

The Scottish Government will invest £100m invest in the NHS over three years to plug holes in the social care system which have led to patients staying in hospital for long periods, Health Secretary Shona Robison has announced.

Having patients unable to leave hospital has led to longer waits for people being admitted and admissions to A&E, otherwise known as ‘bed-blocking’.

A taskforce has also been set up with local government umbrella body COSLA to roll out plans to support further delayed discharge improvements.

Robison said the new investment was part of moves to integrate health and social care services, which will see more people treated in a home setting as health boards and council services work more closely together.

“Reducing delayed discharge not only helps individual patients, who benefit from getting home or to a homely setting as quickly as possible, but also helps ease pressure across the system,” she said.

Scottish Labour's health spokesperson Jenny Marra asked why the Cabinet Secretary had waited so long. “The SNP have had this money since November. All through the A&E crisis over Christmas they have known that one of the solutions is unblocking beds in hospitals, but it has taken until now to release this cash," she said.

Nursing representatives the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said spending decisions must be transparent to ensure money is used for the purpose it was intended.

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “The announcement today is an important first step in starting to tackle the pressures in our hospitals.  If the joining up of health and social care is to be successful, the integrated partnerships which are now being set up will need additional resources. Local councils are short of funding and dependent on health boards to provide more money for social care.”

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