Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Labour Colin Smyth has called on the Scottish Government to tackle 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 on Tuesday show the number of bed days occupied by delayed discharge have increased by 183 per cent in Dumfries and Galloway in a year, from 966 in April 2021 to 2,735 recorded in April 2022.

NHS Borders showed an 70 per cent increase, from 1,067 in April 2021 to 1,819 in April 2022. NHS Ayrshire and Arran reported a 129 per cent increase, from 2,414 in April 2021 to 5,538 in April 2022.

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 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 Scottish Government 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 backing 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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