Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has said delayed discharge must become a thing of the past 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 53 per cent in Dumfries and Galloway in a year, between August 2021 and August 2022.

NHS Borders showed a 78 per cent increase and NHS Ayrshire and Arran reported a 28 per cent increase.

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.

Across the region thousands of hours of assessed care is not being provided in homes because of a lack of carers.

An increasing number of care homes closures are also reducing the opportunities for older people to leave hospital if they require a care home place.

Colin Smyth said: “Delayed discharge must become a thing of the past but every month we’re seeing increases in the numbers of people stuck in hospital without a suitable care package to allow them to leave.

“Every week I hear from distraught families who say their loved ones cannot get the care they need and it’s not good enough. Delayed discharge has been a huge issue for many years but now it’s getting worse.

“This mounting crisis is damaging patients’ recovery, draining precious funds from our NHS at the worst possible time and resulting in an enormous pressure on NHS staff caring for people who shouldn’t be in hospital.

“The Scottish Government must get a grip and properly 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.

“Ending delayed discharge should be a priority for the Scottish Government and that means a radical rethink on how we fund and deliver social care. At present the Government are like rabbits caught in the headlights. They simply have no answers to this crisis.”

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