Care de­lays cause bed block­ing in hos­pi­tals

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

One in 13 hos­pi­tal beds in Scot­land are oc­cu­pied by peo­ple who are well enough to leave, fig­ures from the NHS have shown.

Of­fi­cial data for 2017-18 showed across the coun­try 494,123 bed days were lost to de­layed dis­charge – which oc­curs when peo­ple are med­i­cally ready to leave but have to wait for care ar­range­ments to be made.

There were 36,096 days lost in Tay­side and 27,077 in Fife.

In Scot­land as a whole, there was a 6% re­duc­tion in 2017-18, with the to­tal of bed days lost be­cause of de­layed dis­charges down from 527,099 the pre­vi­ous year.

That meant the daily av­er­age number of beds oc­cu­pied by those wait­ing leave dropped from 1,444 in 2016-17 to 1,354.

Last year ap­prox­i­mately one in 13 (7.8%) of oc­cu­pied beds in NHS Scot­land were a re­sult of de­layed dis­charges.

How­ever re­gional vari­a­tions meant 18.9% of beds were oc­cu­pied by pa­tients wait­ing to leave in NHS Western Isles, while NHS High­land, NHS La­nark­shire, NHS Loth­ian, NHS Shet­land, NHS Bor­ders and NHS Grampian all recorded fig­ures above the Scot­tish av­er­age.

Scot­land’s largest health board, NHS Greater Glas­gow and Clyde, had the low­est pro­por­tion, with 3.1% of beds be­ing taken up by de­layed dis­charge.

The most com­mon rea­son for pa­tients to be kept in hos­pi­tal was they were wait­ing for care ar­range­ments to be put in place, with this ac­count­ing for 34% of de­layed dis­charges.

Scot­tish Lib­eral Demo­crat health spokesman Alex Cole­hamil­ton said: “SNP min­is­ters must now set out their plans for re­duc­ing avoid­able de­layed dis­charges and the progress they ex­pect to be made tack­ling it over the com­ing months.”

Health Sec­re­tary Jeane Free­man wel­comed the over­all re­duc­tion in bed block­ing, point­ing out that this amounted to a 9% drop from 2015-16.

She stated: “We want to con­tinue to build on this progress. That’s why it is vi­tal that lo­cal health and so­cial care part­ner­ships de­velop a range of com­mu­nity based ser­vices with the key aim of keep­ing peo­ple healthy at home.”

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