Ministers can’t ignore rising delayed discharges

New figures raise questions about the Scottish Government’s approach to tackling delayed discharges after they showed the problem continues to worsen.

The ISD Scotland census showed 1,177 patients were experiencing a delayed discharge for ‘health and social care reasons’ at the end of October. The statistics also indicate delayed discharges on this basis have increased by more than a third since April - the month when the new integrated health and social care strategy went live.

Throughout October 2016, 48,104 days were spent in hospital by people delayed in their discharge – more than 3,000 higher than during September.

Month after month we are seeing delayed discharges rise. However, we are still awaiting any clear indication from the Health Secretary about how this worrying trend will be reversed.

This census shows that since the new joint boards took over in April there has been a 34% rise in the number of patients still in hospital because their needs haven’t been assessed, or because there isn’t the support they need to live in their own home or a residential home. These hitches are now at a two year high.

Hundreds of patients are stuck in hospital for more than six weeks. I have highlighted cases to the First Minister of constituents waiting a great deal longer.

All parties supported the bringing together of NHS and local council care services but these figures raise questions about the difference this is making at this early stage. The Scottish Government must immediately set out how they will be supported to speed up the process so people aren't spending months on end in hospital for no good reason.

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