South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has criticised the SNP Scottish Government for failing to tackle delayed discharge, which he described as “spiralling out of control”.

It comes as the annual delayed discharge figures published by the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland today (17th September) show that in the 2018/19 financial year 15,573 bed days were lost as a result of delayed discharge across the region. This came at a cost to NHS Dumfries and Galloway of £3,862,104.

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 said, “SNP Ministers used to promise that they would eradicate delayed discharge, but they are simply presiding over a crisis that is spiralling out of control. Cuts to local health and social care services are inevitably resulting in an increase in the number patients having to stay longer in hospital despite being medically fit to leave often because there isn’t a care package in place to allow them to go home”

The nearly £4 million being spent on delayed discharge could be used elsewhere to tackle the challenges facing local health services. The Scottish Government must take urgent action to properly fund health and social care to ensure resources are put care to meet the growing demand from an ageing population, not just to keep people in hospital”

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