Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Labour Colin Smyth has called on the Scottish Government to tackle the ‘spiralling’ issue of delayed discharge once and for all, as new figures show an increase in number bed days lost to delayed discharge across the south of Scotland.

Figures released by Public Health Scotland last week showed the number of bed days occupied by delayed discharge have increased by 83 per cent in Dumfries and Galloway in a year, from 1,083 in December 2020 to 1,986 recorded in December 2021.

NHS Borders also showed an 83 per cent increase, from 872 in December 2020 to 1,600 recorded in December 2021. NHS Ayrshire and Arran reported a 40 per cent increase, from 3,093 in Dec 2020 to 4,342 in Dec 2021.

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: “Delayed discharge has been a chronic issue across the south of Scotland for years, but Covid has made things much worse.

“These spiralling rates of delayed discharge are the last thing our struggling health service needs.

“This mounting crisis will damage patients’ recovery and drain precious funds from our NHS at the worst possible time.

“It is pure negligence that has let this spiral out of control again over the last year.

“The SNP must get a grip and invest in social care so that people can get the support they need and the NHS can focus on treating people.

“They should start by using this year’s budget to back Labour’s plans to pay staff a fair wage of £12 an hour, rising to £15.

“Delayed discharge should be left in the past and I am calling on the Scottish Government to promise that delayed discharge be eradicated once and for all.”

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