Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today warned Ministers need to get a grip on the integration of health and social care services after last month saw an increase in the number of patients kept in hospital after they were clinically ready to be discharged.
Delayed discharge statistics showed that in June 2016, 457 patients were kept in hospital more than two weeks longer than necessary. 175 patients were kept in hospital more than six weeks after there was no clinical need for them to remain as inpatients.
One third of patients experiencing delayed discharges were kept in hospital because no spaces were available in residential homes. A further quarter of delayed discharges were the result of a failure to put in place social care arrangements to allow patients to live in their own homes.
Commenting, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“The integration of health and social care was largely targeted at reducing delayed discharges. But in the months after it went live the figures show that the number of routine cases has increased month on month.
“Hundreds of patients are being forced to stay in hospital weeks longer than necessary because of delays in making care arrangements or a lack of space in residential homes.
“We all want to see the integration of health and social care succeed, but Ministers need to get a grip. The last thing we want to see are patients stranded in hospital for weeks longer than necessary. That is bad for patients and it puts unnecessary pressure on NHS staff.”