Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has called for an urgent explanation from the Scottish Government after new figures showed the number of patients still in hospital after they were clinically ready to be discharged at its highest rate since autumn 2015.
The ISD Scotland census, published today, showed 1,125 patients were experiencing a delayed discharge for ‘health and social care reasons’ on 29 September. Of those, 411 patients were waiting on social care support to enable them to live in their own home, 388 were waiting a care home place and 221 hadn't had their needs assessed yet.
While definitions have recently been revised, the statistics also indicate delayed discharges due to ‘health and social care reasons’ have increased by 27% since April - the month when the new integrated health and social care strategy went live.
Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:
“SNP ministers need to urgently explain why delayed discharge appears to have risen so sharply since the new integrated joint boards took control in April. These figures indicate there was a 27% rise in the number of patients delayed for health and social care reasons in the months that followed.
“More than 200 patients were stuck in hospital for over six weeks after they were ready to leave due to problems arranging the health and social care they need in the community. I know from my constituents’ experiences that some patients are waiting a great deal longer.
“All parties supported the bringing together of NHS and local council care services but these figures raise questions about the difference they are making at this early stage. The Health Secretary needs to immediately set out how they can be better supported to speed up the process so that people aren't spending months on end in hospital for no good reason.”