Figures show bed-blocking cost NHS in Scotland £132m

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Bed-blocking cost the NHS in Scotland an estimated £132 million last year – the equivalent of £233 a day.

Despite Scottish Government initiatives to tackle the issue, the cost remained broadly similar to 2015-16, when it amounted to £133 million.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex-Cole Hamilton criticised the “eye-watering” cost to the health service.

Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said the problem of delayed discharge – where patients are medically well enough to leave hospital but are waiting for care to be put in place – had “caused huge problems for several years”.

Mr Briggs said: “T he SNP government has made next to no improvement in this area.

“On a human level, it creates sheer misery for thousands upon thousands of patients who are fit to leave but have nowhere to go.

” It’s time for ministers to come up with a meaningful plan to address this. We keep hearing of funding announcements and system overhauls, but nothing seems to change .”

He made the comments after figures showed that in 2016-17 patients whose discharge was delayed accounted for 532,423 occupied bed days across the NHS in Scotland.

An official NHS report said that when changes in the definition were accounted for, there had been a 3% reduction in delayed discharge bed days from 2015-16.

However, over the course of 2016-17, approximately 1 in 12 (8.2%) occupied beds in Scotland’s hospitals were because of delayed discharges, the data showed.

In October 2017, patients waiting to leave hospital spent 43,374 days there – down from a total of 48,104 that was recorded for the same month in 2016.

A census carried out across hospitals in October 2017 showed 1,402 delayed discharge cases – a decrease of 11% on the previous year

Mr Cole-Hamilton called for action from the Scottish Government, saying: “Well over 1,000 patients are still in hospital every day solely because the care they need in the community isn’t available.

“They are clinically ready to leave but their needs haven’t been assessed, there isn’t a place in a care home or the carers needed to visit them at home.

“Given the situation hasn’t improved to any great extent since the integration of health and social care in April 2016, SNP ministers should now set out their plans for reducing avoidable delayed discharges and the progress they expect to be made tackling it over the coming months.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: ” There has been a significant 11% fall in the overall number of people delayed in the last month and a 10% decrease in the number of extra days spent in hospital, compared to October 2016.

“Decreases have now been recorded every month of this year compared to last year.

“Boards are working hard to see that continue and ensure no patient has to spend unnecessary, extra time in hospital.”