NHS staff hailed as ‘bed blocking’ falls by 60%

Delayed discharges in Scotland’s hospitals have fallen by more than 60% in two months

NHS staff hailed as ‘bed blocking’ falls by 60%
NHS staff hailed as ‘bed blocking’ falls by 60%

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has hailed the "significant effort" by NHS workers after delayed discharges in Scotland's hospitals fell by more than 60%.

Official NHS figures show across Scotland a total of 1,171 patients had their discharge delayed in March - a drop of more than 28% from the total of 1,640 recorded in January this year.

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Ms Freeman said there was a drop of "around 600" delayed discharges in April - a reduction of more than 60% in two months.

The Scottish Government made reducing the problem - which is also known as bed blocking - a key issue as part of efforts to tackle the coronavirus.

By getting patients out of hospital more quickly when they are well enough to leave, more beds are freed up for those suffering from Covid-19.

Ms Freeman said: "During the coronavirus outbreak we continue to work with health and social care partnerships to reduce delayed discharges.

"We are now collecting and publishing daily management information from partnerships, which shows that by the end of April delays reduced by around 600 from the position in March.

"This is a reduction of more than 60% in two months and exceeds the targets set."

She added: "This is due to the significant effort from our social work and social care staff, working with health partners and our health and social care partnerships, and I would like to thank them for their ongoing hard work.

"With the support of returning health and care professionals and volunteers, partnerships are working hard to ensure patients are discharged with appropriate care and support - ensuring people are cared for in the right setting and that vital hospital beds are there for those who need them during the current outbreak."

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January's total for delayed discharge had been the highest since the Scottish Government introduced revised data definitions in July 2016.

The figures for March 2020 show 18 patients had had their discharge delayed by a year or more.

Meanwhile, 63 have had to stay in hospital for between six and 12 months longer than medically needed, with a further 98 delayed by a period of three to six months.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of delays were caused by patients having to wait for health and social care arrangements to be put in place before they could leave, according to the data.

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