Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume MSP today warned that the SNP have taken their eye off the ball on the NHS and are failing older patients as Ministers announced extra funding in response to large increases in the number of delayed hospital discharges.
Figures have shown that 154,588 bed days were occupied by delayed discharge patients between July and September 2014. This compares with 126,531 delayed discharge patients over the same period in 2013.
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.
Whilst Liberal Democrats welcomed the additional funding announced by the Scottish Government today, they said much more will need to be done to ensure older people are adequately looked after by health and social care services.
Jim Hume MSP said:
“The SNP took their eye off the ball during the referendum and, as a result, patients aged 75 and over now account for over three quarters of bed days occupied by delayed patients.
"While Scottish Liberal Democrats support moves to treat more people in their own settings, ministers have bottle-necked our hospitals by cutting beds without increasing community care. The jumbled approach to health and social care is failing Scotland’s older people.
“Whilst we welcome additional funding, patients will wonder why SNP ministers haven’t increased support sooner. Hard-working NHS staff are doing all they can with the resources at hand, but with more emergency admissions and fewer beds it is little wonder bed blocking continues to pile pressure on our hospitals.
“From July to September 2014, 154,588 bed days across Scotland’s hospitals were occupied by patients who were clinically ready to leave, up from 126,531 during July to September 2013.
“The SNP need to get a grip of the problem of delayed discharges and stop the worsening crisis.”