Kezia Dugdale: '˜Thousands' of beds blocked despite SNP's promises

More than 5,000 cases of bed blocking have taken place in Scottish hospitals this year despite pledge to abolish it, figures unveiled by Labour have shown.

Bed blocking continues to be an issue at Scottish hospitals. Picture: Greg Macvean
Bed blocking continues to be an issue at Scottish hospitals. Picture: Greg Macvean
Bed blocking continues to be an issue at Scottish hospitals. Picture: Greg Macvean

Kezia Dugdale is now accusing SNP ministers of “breaking promises” to Scots and is calling for more resources to be put into providing community care packages.

A report published by Labour today, entitled Broken Promises – Delayed Discharge Under the SNP, warns that the flow of patients through a hospital is “significantly impacted” when beds are unnecessarily occupied by patients who are ready to leave

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Bed blocking - also known as delayed discharge - happens when patients, usually the elderly, are kept in hospital, despite being clinically well enough to go home.

The figures unveiled by Labour show that over 182,000 ‘bed days’ have been lost to the NHS, with one in four delays due to patients waiting for a Community care assessment.

Ms Dugdale, said: “The SNP were elected as a minority Government less than three months ago on a promise of getting to grips with the problems in our public services – they need to stick to that promise.

“This summer, my shadow cabinet is shining a light on areas where the SNP need to be paying more attention; areas where they made big promises, but have failed to deliver.

“Despite pledging to abolish delayed discharge by the end of last year, it is continuing to place a strain on hospitals across Scotland. Many cases are because people can’t get the care package they need in order to go home. It’s simply not good enough.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said in February 2015 that she wanted to “eradicate delayed discharge out of the system” by the end of last year. There have since been 5,727 cases.

But public health minister Aileen Campbell said £60 million has been allocated specifically to address delayed discharge over the next two years, with an additional £250 millino for social care.

She added: “Good progress is being achieved in reducing delayed discharge. Since January 2007, under this Government, delays of over three days have been reduced by over 40%. The latest annual report also shows over 55,000 bed days were freed up in 2015/16, compared to the year before. Delayed discharge continues to fall in Scotland and this is in stark comparison to other parts of the UK where the number of people delayed waiting to leave hospital is on the rise.”