South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has revealed that delayed discharge cost NHS Dumfries and Galloway nearly £400,000 in one month.

Figures published by the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland today (2 July) show that in May this year NHS Dumfries and Galloway lost 1,716 bed days as a result of delayed discharge. This came at a cost of £382,668 to the health board. This was an increase of the 1,407 bed days lost in April this year.

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.

Colin Smyth MSP believes that the cuts to local authority budgets and to social care by the SNP Scottish Government is largely to blame for the increase in the number of beds lost. Particularly given that in May 2018 NHS Dumfries and Galloway had 823 lost bed days, meaning there was nearly a 50% this year.

The SNP Scottish Government budget passed earlier this year meant Dumfries and Galloway Council has to raise Council Tax and cut services to fill a £14.7million funding gap. The Scottish Government budget also allowed councils to retain 2.2% of their allocation to Integration Joint Boards which saw the Dumfries and Galloway Integration Joint Board suffer a budget cut of £1.59million.

Colin Smyth said, “It is staggering that despite previous a SNP Health Secretary promising to abolish delayed discharge we now see the situation getting worse, with a nearly 50% increase in lost bed days in one year.

The cuts that the Government are passing onto local councils and health and social care partnerships is resulting in more people being kept in hospital even though they are medically fit to return home. We need to see an end to cuts by this SNP Government to ensure that we invest in social care to cope with the increase in demand we will see in the future.”

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