Delayed discharge cost NHS Dumfries and Galloway more than £8,000,000 since the SNP government pledged to abolish it three years ago, new analysis has revealed.

On Wednesday February 25, 2015 SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison told the BBC Good Morning Scotland Programme that:

“I want over the course of this year to eradicate delayed discharge out of the system and I am absolutely determined to do that.”

But since Shona Robison’s promise, more than 35,000 bed days have been lost to delayed discharge in Dumfries and Galloway. 

New analysis from Scottish Labour reveals the cost of that broken promise to our health service in the region is £8,287,810.

In total 35,570 bed days have been lost since the Health Minister promised to abolish delayed discharge.

Delayed discharge is when a patient is medically cleared to go home but cannot leave hospital, often because a social care package is not in place.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said the figures underline SNP mismanagement of the health service, and pointed to the millions of pounds of cuts imposed on Dumfries and Galloway council by the Scottish Government who provide care packages as a key reason for the problem.

Research by Labour previously highlighted that 30 patients in Dumfries and Galloway had died in hospital while on delayed discharge waiting lists since Robison made her pledge.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said:

“Despite the SNP Health Secretary’s promise to end delayed discharge, the Scottish Government’s failure to deliver on their promise has cost our health service in Dumfries and Galloway more than £8 million. 

“That is a shocking figure that could have been spent by NHS Dumfries and Galloway to deliver better patient care and more staff to deliver that care. 

“Much of the delay in discharging patients is due to social care issues and delays in care assessments -; the result of years of an SNP government slashing the budget of Dumfries and Galloway Council. 

“Scottish Labour our forward plans at the recent budget that would have ended the cuts to councils delivered the social care we need”.

“We have also pledged to deliver a National Guarantee for Care Workers. This would ensure all care workers are given appropriate training, paid the living wage, including the time and cost for travel.

“That’s the kind of radical change our health and care services in Dumfries and Galloway badly need”. 



Dumfries and Galloway NHS Delayed Discharge figures since Feb 2015.

Total bed days lost since Feb 2015






Bed days occupied 5






For the full report please see:


The Latest figure provided by ISD Scotland for the estimated average daily cost of a delayed discharge was £233.

233(£) x 35570 (Bed Days Occupied by Delayed Discharge across Dumfries and Galloway) = £8,287,810

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