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Daily Record
Daily Record
Paul Behan

Concerns over big rise in delayed discharge figures across Ayrshire

Delayed discharge figures in Ayrshire and Arran have shot up by 38 per cent.

Figures released by Public Health Scotland about the number of bed days occupied by delayed discharge continues to paint a bleak picture in the region.

The numbers have increased by 38 per cent in Ayrshire and Arran, between October 2021 and October 2022, meaning 6,438 bed days were occupied by patients otherwise ready to leave hospital- but couldn’t.

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, or there is a lack of places in care homes or sheltered housing.

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

South Scotland Labour List MSP Colin Smyth is demanding action.

He said: “The monthly delayed discharge figures continue to paint a bleak picture for health boards.

“Almost everyone knows of families who are dealing with this terrible situation. It is getting worse.

“Delayed discharge damages patients’ recovery, it drains precious funds from our NHS and is 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. We don’t have enough carers to support people in their homes or enough care home places.

MSP Colin Smyth (handout)

“That will need long term investment including tackling the woeful low level of sheltered housing locally. The Government could start by backing Labour’s plans to pay care workers a fair wage of £12 an hour, rising to £15 which would help with the recruitment crisis.”

He added: “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.”

But Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said a combination of factors has caused the figures to rise and the Scottish Government is pumping money into tackling the issue.

He said: “In common with health services across the UK and globally, NHS Scotland is working under significant pressure and the pandemic continues to affect services.

“Social care has been hit by a triple whammy of Brexit, which has impacted staffing, the pandemic and high energy and inflation costs, all putting significant pressure on the sector.

“A ministerial advisory group has been established to discuss and tackle current system pressures. The group meets weekly with the Deputy First Minister, health ministers and minister for local government all in attendance.

“Funding is also being used to rapidly scale up Hospital at Home services with a further £3.6 million made available in the 2022/23 budget, to reduce acute admissions and support timely discharge.

“Funding of £124 million has been allocated to enhance care at home capacity; £200 million to increase the hourly rate of pay to £10.50; £20 million to provide interim care arrangements; and £40 million to enhance multi-disciplinary teams.”

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