SCOTLAND’S health service faced “increased and prolonged pressures from influenza and respiratory illness” last winter with accident and emergency waiting times affected, a government report said.
Bed-blocking – also known as “delayed discharge” – when patients, are ready to leave hospital but cannot do so for reasons such as having no care home place or services to look after them, also placed the NHS under more strain, the “Winter in Scotland in 2014/15” report stated.
The pressures impacted on “waiting times performance” and the Scottish government’s target of treating A&E patients within four hours, it was found.
Health secretary Shona Robison said the Scottish government had already begun planning for 2015-16 and the “additional pressures winter brings”.
Ms Robison said “We know that the winter months are always more challenging for our health boards, with today’s report showing that hospitals saw more, sicker, people last winter compared to previous years.
“With more people now living with long term conditions and a growing number of older people with multiple conditions and complex needs, it is vital that we learn from the lessons of last winter and have robust plans in place not only for this winter, but throughout the year.”