Thousands of patients die in hospital waiting to go home – Labour


More than 1,100 patients have died while waiting to be discharged from hospital since March 2015, new figures show.

Research by Scottish Labour using freedom of information laws revealed that at least 1,152 patients died while waiting to go home between then and November 2017.

The final figure may be higher as NHS Grampian did not respond to the party’s request for information.

Delayed discharge occurs when patients are clinically ready to leave hospital but are waiting for the necessary care and accommodation arrangements to be put in place.

Scottish Labour pointed out that in February 2015 Health Secretary Shona Robison pledged to eliminate delayed discharge in Scotland’s NHS.

The party’s health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: “In 2015 the SNP promised to scrap delayed discharge in our hospitals. Instead, thousands of patients have died in hospital waiting to go home.

“Our NHS staff are undervalued and overstretched, and they should be supported by a proper system to help patients out of hospital as soon as they are fit to leave.

“Further cuts to local councils which provide social care will only add to this, and it shows the complete mismanagement of our health and care services under the SNP.

“Fixing delayed discharge will begin to relieve the pressure on our hospitals and NHS staff, allowing for better patient care for everyone – but we can only do that if we invest properly in local services.

“That means doing more than tinkering around the edges on tax, it means real and radical change.”

Ms Robison responded: “Our policy is clear – when a patient is assessed as requiring care and support on discharge from hospital we expect local health and social care partnerships to ensure appropriate support is provided.

“That is why we have invested almost half a billion pounds of additional funds into social care and integration this year, while the health revenue budget will increase by almost £2 billion by 2021.

“Our health and social care delivery plan includes our objective to double palliative and end-of-life provision of care in communities by 2021, so that fewer people die in a hospital setting, as well as reducing the overall bed-day usage.

“We have seen a significant 11% fall in the overall number of people delayed in the last month, and a 10% decrease in the number of extra days spent in hospital, compared to October 2016 – but we want to do more.

“Boards are working hard to see that continue and ensure no patient has to spend unnecessary, extra time in hospital.”

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