Patients in Scottish hospitals were stranded for hundreds of days because of health and social care
New figures obtained under freedom of information by the Scottish Liberal Democrats uncovered the “national scandal” which saw patients stranded in wards for hundreds of days because of health and social care reasons.
The longest wait was by a person in Dumfries and Galloway, who was kept in hospital for an astonishing 508 days in 2013/14.
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In Fife, a patient who was declared ready for medical discharge in 2014 did not leave until 418 days later in 2016.
Delayed discharges of more than a year were also recorded in NHS Highland while waits of more than six months were found in Ayrshire and Arran, Grampian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Shetland and the Western Isles.
However, several health boards including Forth Valley, Lothian, Orkney and Tayside were unable to provide data.
One patient was declared ready for medical charge in 2014 but did not leave until 418 days later
In most cases patients were unable to leave hospitals because they were waiting on a care home place or social care support to enable them to live in their own home.
What then are we to make of patients in hospital for up to 500 nights
Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton
But some people were also left in wards waiting on a needs assessment to be concluded.
Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "In November I asked the First Minister about a constituent of mine who had spent 150 nights in hospital due to delayed discharge. Nicola Sturgeon described the situation as unacceptable.
Delayed discharges were also found in NHS Highland and six months waits were found in various areas Sturgeon's top moments Fri, December 9, 2016
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in pictures.
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Nicola Sturgeon visits Glaxo Smith Kline.
"What then are we to make of patients in hospital for up to 500 nights, perhaps because carers can't be found to visit them at home or there isn't a care home place available?"
In September 2013, there were an average of 22,979 beds available compared to 21,815 in September 2016.
Mr Cole-Hamilton added: "Under the SNP, 1,000 beds were lost from Scotland's hospitals during the same three years. Our under-pressure NHS can ill afford delayed discharges on this extreme scale.”
Some people were also left in wards waiting on a needs assessment to be concluded
The party’s social care spokeswoman, Cllr Karen Clark, said: “For someone to be needlessly stuck in hospital for up to eighteen months is nothing short of a national scandal.
“Medical staff had declared these patients ready to leave. Seeing care packages fall through time after time causes patients and their families immense stress.
“And there can be no doubt that someone spending such a prolonged time in hospital when they should be at home will pair their mental and physical health.”
A Scottish Government spokesman admitted there were "too many" delayed discharges.
He said: "The latest official figures show a 5.1 per cent reduction in bed days associated with delayed discharge in 2016 compared with 2015 – while the same period in England experienced a 23 per cent increase.
"One unnecessary delay, however, is one too many and we have repeated our ambition and expectation that our new integrated health and social care partnerships will address this.
"The draft Budget announced an additional £107 million to transfer from the NHS to health and social care partnerships to support sustainability in the care sector, bringing the NHS contribution to enhancing social care to around £500 million next year, and that funding will be used to further improve social care provisions.”
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