Delayed discharges costing Scottish NHS £440m

The Scottish government has come under fire after figures showed that delayed discharges in the NHS has cost the health service £440 million since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister.

Figures released from ISD Scotland show a total of 43,244 bed days were lost in May, meaning 205,871 have been lost so far in 2018.

Reducing the numbers will be a key test for new health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, who will seek to finally implement the pledges made by her predecessors. 

Labour has blamed SNP cuts to local council budgets for putting social care services under significant strain, leaving many hospital patients unable to access the services needed to return home. 

Commenting on the figures, Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:  “The SNP government’s broken promise is costing Scotland millions of pounds each year, and putting an intolerable strain on NHS wards.

“Hundreds of patients each month are languishing unnecessarily in hospital beds.

“Much of the delay in discharging patients is due to social care issues and delays in care assessments – the result of the SNP government’s £1.5 billion cut to council budgets.

“Labour’s would end the cuts to our councils and deliver a National Guarantee for care workers, ensuring all care workers are given appropriate training, paid the living wage, including the time and cost for travel. 

The ISD findings also show that 489 operations were cancelled due to issues with capacity in May.

A total of 4,236 operations have been cancelled so far in 2018 due to a lack of capacity in the NHS – meaning an average of 28 operations were cancelled each day this year.

The SNP have defended their record on the NHS, with a spokesperson saying: “We’ll continue to work alongside NHS staff and deliver real investment to continue to improve services and provide the level of care patients have a right to expect.”

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