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Delayed NHS discharges continue to soar

February 25, 2014 1:36 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP has warnedJim HumeJim Hume of a creaking NHS after official figures published today have shown that the number of bed days occupied by delayed discharge patients increased to 135,000 during the quarter October to December 2013.

The figures show there was a steady increase in the number of bed days occupied by patients who are clinically ready to leave hospital. 73 percent of total bed days occupied are by patients aged 75 and over. The figures will renew concerns over capacity issues across the NHS in the face of increasing emergency admissions for older people, fewer beds and inadequate social care provision.

As of January 2013 there were 151 patients delayed over 6 weeks. This compares with 57 at the January 2013 census.

Mr Hume said:

"I'm concerned that the NHS is now creaking under SNP mismanagement. Bed blocking continues soar in Scotland's hospitals, with 135,000 bed days occupied by patients during October to December 2013. These patients are clinically ready to leave hospital but have faced delays of over six weeks as they wait for a place in a care home or for arrangements to be put in place so that they can return home.

"These delays are upsetting for patients and place a huge financial stress on our NHS. With 73 percent of total bed days occupied by patients aged 75 and over the health secretary cannot continue to ignore the warning signs. Scotland's hard-working NHS will be hard -put to cope with the pressures of an ageing population which is living longer and suffering for longer periods of time in ill health.

"Audit Scotland, the RCPE, the BMA and many others have set out what needs to be done to address the crisis in capacity and the need to integrate health and social care so that people can return to their home and live with the dignity they deserve. These figures are a stark reminder of the challenges which lie ahead for Scotland's NHS."