Cole-Hamilton: SNP need to get to grips with delayed discharges

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today warned SNP ministers need to get to grips with reducing delayed discharges after new statistics showed more patients waiting for the fourth month in a row.

The figures from ISD Scotland showed that 45,551 days were spent in hospital by people delayed in their discharge during August 2016, with 1,472 people delayed on the day of the census.

After those with complex care needs are excluded, 374 (32%) patients experiencing delayed discharges remained in hospital because no spaces were available in residential care homes. A further 359 (31%) delayed discharge patients were waiting for support to be arranged to allow them to live in their own homes.

Commenting, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“This is the fourth month in a row the census has shown a rise in the number of delayed discharges, demonstrating the need for the Scottish Government to get to grips with the situation.

“We are still seeing hundreds of patients forced to stay in hospital weeks longer than necessary because of delays in making care arrangements and a lack of space in care homes.

“SNP Ministers need to explain why more and more patients are waiting since the new integrated joint boards took over responsibility for tackling delayed discharges. Nobody is pretending that their creation would solve the problem overnight, but boards must get the support they need to bring these numbers down because people staying in hospital when there is no medical reason for them to do so is strain the NHS and its staff could do without.”

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