£8m announced for 300 extra care beds to reduce hospital pressures
Scotland’s health secretary has confirmed an additional £8m will be provided to help health boards secure extra beds in care homes to move people out of hospitals.
Humza Yousaf said it was hoped this would provide an additional 300 beds to tackle the issue of delayed discharge.
It comes as hospitals were put under huge strain over the festive holidays due to rising Covid and winter flu cases, as well as pre-existing backlogs.
Yousaf said: “Cosla and the Scottish Government have worked with partners across the care home sector to identify additional interim spaces within care homes to help provide additional pathways for people to be discharged from hospital in a timely and safe fashion.
“To support health and social care partnerships to secure the extra provision, we’re making funding of £8m available so that beds can be purchased at an additional 25 per cent above the national care home contract rate.”
The confirmation of funding follows a statement from the First Minister yesterday, where she also said health boards could take decisions to reduce pressures, including limiting elective treatments to prioritise emergency and critical care, should they feel the need to do so.
Both the Conservatives and Labour have criticised the Scottish Government for not responding to the current crisis sooner.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Sandesh Gulhane said: “Whilst record numbers of patients were waiting over 12 hours in A&E, where was the health secretary?
“We heard nothing from Humza Yousaf over the festive period, only for this hastily cobbled together statement today, before another divisive debate on independence which is timetabled to last longer than this statement on healthcare.
“This is a national emergency. People are dying unnecessarily. Our heroic NHS staff are overwhelmed and are burning out. The crisis in our NHS should be a priority for this parliament being it is a priority for the people of Scotland.”
His party and Labour both sought to alter business in the chamber this afternoon by removing the scheduled debate on Scottish independence. Labour sought to replace it with one on NHS recovery.
Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “This crisis is not unprecedented. It was predicted by clinicians. And in fact, fewer patients are being seen in A&E now than before the pandemic.
“What is unprecedented is that the health secretary has been warned about this crisis by clinicians for well over a year and he’s failed to listen and to act on solutions.
“What is unprecedented is that this government failed to end delayed discharge, something they promised to do in 2015 and eight years on it’s at record high levels… The current crisis at the front door of A&E is because the back door of social care has not been fixed.”
Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe