Delayed discharges cost the NHS £142 million


Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton today called for a step change in social care provision after new figures showed the “eye-watering” cost of delayed discharges to the NHS.

Public Health Scotland’s annual figures show 1 in 14 (7.0%) beds in NHS Scotland were occupied by people who were delayed in their discharge. Of the total number of delayed discharge bed days, 66% were due to health and social care. 

Public Health Scotland also estimates the cost of delayed discharges in NHS Scotland amounted to £142 million, with an average daily bed cost of £262.

Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:

“We know the cost of delayed discharges to patients and their families. Keeping people in hospital unnecessarily causes disruption, distress and the deterioration of conditions. 

“Delayed discharges involve eye-watering sums of money for the NHS and in the majority of cases it is an entirely avoidable problem. Most people are waiting on a care home place, social care support to enable them to live in their own home or for an assessment to be conducted.

“It has been a full five years since the SNP’s target to end delayed discharges was missed. Despite plan after plan ministers haven’t managed to make a dent in the problem. It is time they delivered a step change in social care pay and conditions to open up the options for moving people out of hospital and into more suitable care as soon as they are ready.”


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