Care delays cause bed blocking in hospitals
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.”