40% more bed days have been lost in Dumfries and Galloway as a result of delayed discharge since this time last year, prompting South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth to call on the SNP Scottish Government to stand by their previous pledge to eradicate delayed discharge.

The call comes as the latest figures from the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland shows that in August 2019, 1,808 bed days were lost in Dumfries and Galloway as a result of delayed discharge at a cost to the local health board of £448,384.

This was an increase of 40.3% from the 1,288 bed days lost in August 2018.

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.

Former SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison promised to abolish delayed discharge out of the system completely in February 2015.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “With nearly 2,000 bed days being lost and over £400,000 a month being spent on delayed discharge its time the Scottish Government got a grip and honour their commitment to abolish delayed discharge. Since their commitment was made we have seen the problem spiral out of control with local health boards being left to find solutions while having to cut services.

If the Scottish Government worked with NHS Dumfries and Galloway solutions could be found quicker on how to recruit into vital social care posts and provide resources to meet the demands of an ageing population. The Government also needs to wake up to fact that their cuts to council budgets over the years has made it more and more difficult to put in place the social care packages people need to allow them to leave hospital and be cared for at home. Until there is a stop to the cuts, ending delayed discharge will be impossible”

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