Number of bed days lost to delayed discharge increases by 8% in one year

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The number of bed days lost to delayed discharge has increased by 8% in the past year, figures show.

In February of this year, according to a release from Public Health Scotland, 51,732 bed days were lost with patients who were ready to be discharged, compared to 47,713 in the same month last year.

According to the figures, 1,871 people were waiting to be discharged, an increase of 2% from the figure the month before – when it stood at 1,833 – and below the November peak of 1,977.

Per day, the average number of occupied beds in Scotland by someone who had their discharge delayed stood at 1,848 in February, a 1% rise from the month before when the figure was 1,833.

The majority of delays were caused by what is described as “standard” reasons, meaning it was related to either health and social care problems or issues with the patient, their family or their carer.

Health Secretary Michael Matheson said it was “encouraging” to see a drop in recent months in the number of days lost, but added: “Despite this downward trend, continuing to address delayed discharge remains of critical importance and we will continue to work tirelessly with health boards and health and social care partnerships to make sure we keep seeing less and less people delayed.”

Scottish Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine said: “Every time we see devastating figures like these, it lays bare the ongoing crisis in social care.

“Every time, we see the proof of ministerial failure and the price being paid by patients and hardworking NHS staff.

“The Government’s answer to the social care crisis is a ministerial takeover which will not work.

“As one of his first acts in his new job, Michael Matheson must do the right thing now and scrap, not salvage, this billion-pound bureaucracy entirely.

“The Cabinet Secretary must instead invest money into services and staff.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats would support social care today by setting national standards and entitlements for users to drive up the quality of care and move quickly to reward staff with better pay, conditions and career progression through powerful national bargaining.”

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