Delayed discharge figures show need for major change

A year on from the integration of health and social care, new delayed discharge figures show the need for it to bring about the major changes that were promised.

New figures from ISD Scotland indicate that the number of people on delayed discharge for health and social care reasons in February 2017 remains higher than when the new boards took control last spring.

All parties want to see the integration of health and social care succeed. However the figures published today, a year on from the new boards taking control, indicate that their work has yet to have a significant impact on delayed discharges. Indeed, the figures indicate it is now affecting more people.

Scottish Liberal Democrats recently revealed there are still patients waiting hundreds of days to be discharged from hospital after being declared ready to leave. This doesn’t help patients’ health and it has a knock-on effect throughout our hospitals.

It is clear that the system remains far from seamless and that patients are enduring long waits for a care home place, the support they need to return to their own home or even a needs assessment. While nobody was expecting change to occur overnight, the integration of health and social care integration has a long way to go before it achieves what was promised.

In the interests of transparency and accountability, SNP ministers should set out what progress they expect to see during the year ahead.

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