Scottish Liberal Democrats have raised concerns that hospitals across Scotland could reach breaking point this winter after a new study into hospital capacity found that more than 3,000 patients had to be treated in the wrong department throughout the summer months.
Figures highlighted by the Herald newspaper today found that 3,309 patients were boarded due to capacity shortages, whilst 1,706 patients were kept in hospital despite being clinically able to leave hospital.
The figures raise further concerns about the lack of support for the Scottish Government’s plans to integrate health and social care. Scottish Liberal Democrats today warned the figures were a further sign of the SNP’s jumbled approach to reforms, where hospital capacity is being cut before social care is improved.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP said:
“If our hospitals are stuffed to the gunnels in the summer months I have real concerns they could reach breaking point this winter. The RCN’s damning criticism of the Scottish Government for failing to match its words with action show that our hardworking NHS does not feel it is being supported by SNP ministers.
“The SNP in the Scottish Government spent so long campaigning for independence they took their attention off day-to-day services. Scotland’s NHS faces a near one percent cut to the budget over the next two years while in England the NHS budget has increased. As a result, hospitals face a crippling beds shortage and people who are well enough to be discharged are being kept in hospital because there isn’t the resources in the community to care for them.
“These structural problems will take more than a press release to fix. If we are to build an NHS fit to cope with Scotland’s changing demographics the SNP must heed Audit Scotland’s call for our health boards to be allowed to plan budgets for the long term.”