New bed-blocking figures reveal that patients in Edinburgh were trapped without adequate care packages resulting in nearly 8000 lost hospital bed days.
A September census show that there were 252 cases of delayed discharge – when patients are medically fit to return home but unable to leave hospital, frequently due to the lack of a social care package – compared to 115 in the Highlands, 106 in South Lanarkshire, 103 in North Lanarkshire and just 100 in Glasgow.
Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: “Delayed discharge is a bigger problem in Edinburgh than anywhere else in Scotland and it is only getting worse. It increases pressure on hospitals, with less beds available and it means patients are stuck in hospital because they have nowhere else to go.”
The delayed discharge figures across Scotland are at the worst level in two years.
Official statistics show 1,529 people in Scotland were affected, the most since October 2016. The number of people affected has risen nine per cent from the same period last year. Of the 1,529 patients stuck in hospital, 1,277 were delayed for more than three days with health and social care reasons the most common cause.
Opposition parties criticised the Scottish Government’s record on delayed discharge and called for action.
Kezia Dugdale, Labour MSP for Edinburgh and the Lothians, said: “Delayed discharge has not been eradicated – it has reached crisis point in Edinburgh.
“When Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announces his budget next month, it’s clear that NHS Lothian and Edinburgh City Council must be prioritised ahead of other parts of Scotland and given a major cash injection.”
The Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership said they are not complacent about the scale of the challenges and are making progress in reducing the numbers of delays. A spokeswoman said: “We are working with colleagues in the third and independent sector over a range of initiatives to increase the capacity for Care and Home Services, as well as capacity within the Care and Nursing Home sector, in order to increase the earliest opportunity for individuals to move home, or to a homely environment.
“We have undertaken a whole system review of the ‘patient journey’ before admission, during the time in hospital and at the pre-home stages and from this have introduced more efficient and coherent process to assist a better patient experience and more effective route to an appropriate discharge from hospital.”