17 Aug 2022

Slight fall in number of delayed discharges from hospital

Slight fall in number of delayed discharges from hospital

The average number of hospital beds occupied per day due to delayed discharges in Scotland continued to fall slightly in June, the latest figures show.

Data from Public Health Scotland revealed that 1,678 beds were occupied each day by people who were clinically well enough to leave hospital.

This is a decrease of 2% when compared with May, which saw a daily average of 1,707.

The number of patients who faced delays also saw a small decrease, with 1,671 people falling under this measurement – just 19 fewer than the 1,690 delayed in May.

There were 50,340 days spent in hospital by people whose discharge was delayed – up 36% when compared with June 2021.

Patients delayed in June faced an average wait length of 23 days, which is 10% higher than the previous month.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton warned that the figures show the crisis being faced by social care is “not going away”.

He said: “Every month we see huge numbers of people waiting to return home but can’t as there is no social care package in place and we know the distress, disruption and deterioration that can cause.

“All the while, the SNP/Green Government is wasting its time and energy on an unwanted referendum instead of focusing on the things that really matter.

“They need to take action on this now. Waiting for SNP ministers to take over care services and impose their own vision is not an option.”

Scottish Conservative health spokesperson Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “Being stuck in hospital because there is no place available in a care home is soul-destroying for patients.

“But it also has a knock-on effect across the health service, creating a shortage of hospital beds, which adds to the horrendous delays we see in A&E.

“Sadly, I fear that the SNP’s plans to centralise social care will do nothing to smooth the flow of patients out of hospitals.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Being at home, or in a community setting, is in the best interests of anyone who no longer has any clinical need to be in hospital.

“The Scottish Government works with health and social care partnerships to reduce delays in people leaving hospital and to ensure that people are cared for in the right setting and hospital beds are there for those who need them.

“Along with significant additional funding to support social care, including £62 million to enhance Care at Home capacity and £48 million to increase hourly pay, £40 million to provide interim care arrangements, and £20 million to enhance multi-disciplinary teams, we have improved discharge planning arrangements.

“We have taken steps to rapidly scale up Hospital at Home services to reduce acute admissions and support timely discharge. A further £3.6 million funding has been made available in the 2022/23 budget to support the further development of Hospital at Home across Scotland.

“We have recruited more than 1,000 additional healthcare support staff since last October with many working in community and social care. Ministers continue to meet regularly with the partnerships facing the most significant challenges to discuss progress and challenges.”

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