Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned that health boards face a long winter after figures published today showed that during the quarter July to September 2014, 154,588 bed days were occupied by delayed discharge patients.
This compares with 149,226 during the quarter April to June 2014 and 126,531 during the quarter July to September 2013.
At the October 2014 census, 321 patients were delayed over four weeks despite being clinically ready to leave hospital. This compares with 274 at the July 2014 census and 156 at the October 2013 census.
Almost three quarters of bed days occupied by delayed discharges were by patients aged 75 and over.
The rise in bed blocking comes at a time when boarding is reported to have soared to 3,000 patients, geriatric beds have been cut by a third since 2010 and emergency admissions for older people are at their highest in a decade.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP said:
“If this is the scale of pressure on our hospitals during the summer months then it seems that our health boards are to face a long winter. From July to September this year 154,588 bed days were occupied by patients who were clinically ready to leave hospital.
“With patients aged 75 and over accounting for three quarters of bed days occupied by delayed patients it seems SNP mismanagement is failing Scotland’s older people. Questions must be asked over the success of their plans to integrate health and social care. While Scottish Liberal Democrats support moves to treat more people in their own settings, ministers are only bottle-necking our hospitals by cutting beds without subsequently increasing community care.
“We need assurances that our health service is prepared fully for any increase in demand this winter. Today’s figures are a worrying indication of the state of preparedness of health boards across Scotland.”