Set out delayed discharge plans

Scottish Liberal Democrats today called on SNP ministers to set out their plans for reducing avoidable delayed discharges after new statistics showed the problem worsening for the third month in a row.

The average number of NHS hospital beds occupied per day in August 2017 was 1,343. This compares to a daily average of 1,279 in May.

The new statistics coincide with a new study which suggests delayed discharges fuel a rise in overall death rates. Researchers say 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are attributable to people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:

"More than 1,000 people a day are in hospital, even though they are ready to leave, because the help they need in the community simply isn't there. Some are stuck in hospital for hundreds of days unnecessarily.

"Charities are warning that the shortage of social care workers is putting people at high risk, with some being left without food, water and essential medicines. Staff are working tirelessly but there just aren't enough of them to go around.

"The health and social care system is failing both patients and staff.

"The situation hasn't improved to any great extent since the landmark integration of health and social care well over a year ago. That is why the Scottish Government should set out their plans for reducing avoidable delayed discharges and the progress they expect to be made tackling it over the coming months."

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