Bed blocking still a patient ‘nightmare’
Delayed discharge for more than 50 people
More than 50 people from Perth and Kinross were forced to stay in hospital in a single month earlier this year despite being fit enough to leave.
Information released by NHS Scotland at the start of the week showed 25 of the 53 patients from Perth and Kinross held back in hospital in September could not leave because care packages had not been arranged for them.
The figures were published after the Mental Welfare Commission (MWC) also claimed over the weekend NHS Tayside had let some patients with complex needs languish on wards for as long as four years - a situation the Scottish Conservatives’ health spokesman Miles Briggs described as “a scandal”.
However Robert Packham, chief officer for the Perth and Kinross health and social care partnership, insisted yesterday these delays affected “a very small number of people” and the number of bed days lost locally due to people being stuck in hospital had actually gone down in the last year.
Commenting on the MWC’s claims Mr Briggs said: “The cases being highlighted of patients living in Scottish hospitals because there is no appropriate care package for them is a total scandal and must be a wake-up call for SNP ministers that health and social care integration is not delivering the joined up approach to care we all want to see.”
And commenting on the latest bed blocking figures Mr Briggs said: “For years now the SNP has pledged to act on delayed discharge and find a way to reduce it.
“But now the problem is at a two-year high [across Scotland], and that’s before the winter pressures we see every year properly kick in.
“For years the nationalists have made promises, revealed grandstanding announcements, yet nothing actually changes on the ground.
“Delayed discharge is a nightmare for patients and hospitals, and it’s time the SNP tried to make a meaningful impact on it.”
However responding to those remarks health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “I have been clear that it is not acceptable for people to be delayed in hospital after their treatment has been completed.
“The investment that we are making into health and social care integration – more than half a billion pounds transferred this year – will bring about an improvement.”
And Mr Packham said yesterday: “People who have very complex needs may require a high level of support from a range of services and a change to their living accommodation.
“These matters can take some time to arrange and where specialist accommodation is needed there can be delays while the right facilities are put in place.”
Referring specifically to the MWC’s claims he added: “The periods of delay highlighted ... refers to people with exceptionally complex needs. This affects a very small number of people but the length of delay can be significant.
“In Perth and Kinross we have been working to reduce the number of people experiencing delays and we regularly monitor their progress.”