BED BLOCKING IS ON THE RISE
More than 40 per cent increase on the 2018 figure
Delayed discharge has risen dramatically at the region’s hospitals in the last 12 months.
New figures show that there were 1,648 bed-days lost to bed blocking in Dumfries and Galloway in March this year – an average of more than 50 a day.
And that’s more than 40 per cent up on the March, 2018, figure of 909 bed-days.
The issue, which is also known as bed-blocking, arises when patients who are well enough to leave hospital remain in a bed because no care plan has been developed to continue their treatment.
The figures from Information Services Division Scotland show that of the 1,648 bed-days lost, 1,459 were for health and social care reasons. That means there wasn’t enough space in the care system to cope with them.
An NHS Dumfries and Galloway spokesman said there were a number of issues behind the increase.
He said: “It is important to note that being ready to leave hospital is not the end of everyone’s journey and many face ongoing needs which must be met at cottage hospitals, care homes or by care at home services.
“Some delays are caused by legal processes, adaptations to housing and disagreements within families about what is best for relatives.
“People will be aware of the recruitment difficulties we have had in some cottage hospitals, and recruitment generally within the Health and Social Care Partnership. This is not confined to only those with a professional qualification but extends into care homes and care at home services across the region.
“All of our providers either have experienced or are experiencing recruitment difficulties.
“We are also experiencing a shortage of care home beds in specific locations, though the overall number of beds we have available is not far away from the numbers that we believe we would need at this time.
“The various parts of the Health and Social Care Partnership are working very hard together to try and address the more immediate problems.
“We continue to develop new and innovative services that are all aimed at keeping people as healthy as they can be and independent as they can be for longer.
“Work is being undertaken through the Healthy Aging Programme Board to address some of these issues.
“And work is ongoing through flow meetings in localities, working with providers to ensure that discharges take place promptly and safely.”
Beds blocked The issue is a problem at Dumfries Infirmary