Scottish Liberal Democrats have today revealed patients have been in hospital on delayed discharge for up to 600 days after they were declared ready to leave, branding the situation “absurd".
Freedom of information requests by the party have uncovered the longest periods patients across the country had their discharge from hospital delayed for health and social care reasons during 2016/17 and 2017/18.
The investigation found patients spending hundreds of nights in hospital when they didn’t need to be there due to a lack of available support in the community, including patients waiting:
- 525 days in Grampian
- 476 days in Lanarkshire
- Over 450 days in Lothian
- 392 days in Fife
There are currently patients waiting 516 days in Tayside and 618 days in the Borders.
‘Health and social care reasons’ include patients waiting on a care home place, social care support to enable them to live in their own home and those waiting on a needs assessment to be conducted.
Health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
“It is absurd that patients are stuck in hospital for up to 600 nights at vast expense because carers can’t be found to visit them at home or there isn’t a care home place available.
“Medical staff had declared these patients ready to leave but the support they need to move on is just not there.
“We know that when patients are trapped in hospital, their condition is more likely to worsen and opportunities to rebuild their lives are lost.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats demand an end to the social care scandal. The Health Secretary must take swift action to eliminate these long waits on delayed discharge or hand over to someone who will.”
Social care spokesperson Karen Clark added:
"No person should ever be needlessly stuck in hospital for eighteen months after medical staff have deemed them ready to leave. It is an immensely harmful and costly experience.
"These exceptionally long waits have been attributed to health and social care reasons - factors within this government's control. SNP ministers need to explain why they have not been eliminated from the system."