By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 09 January 2022 • 11:55
Source: NHS Scotland
In a statement released by the Liberal Democrats, they say the true picture of healthcare in Scotland is reflected in the story of the patient forced to stay in hospital for five years despite being well enough to go home.
In a freedom of information request, the party found that the patient who waited longest, out of the health boards who provided figures, was in Tayside and was in hospital for 1835 days, that’s five years and nine days.
In other examples they spoke of a patient in Forth Valley who waited more than three years and two months, one in Dumfries and Galloway was in hospital for more than a year and eight months and two in Fife and Lothian spent more than a year and seven months in hospital beds.
In what is a common picture across the whole of the UK, in Scotland during 2020-21 more than 2443 patients had to wait more than three weeks to be discharged from hospital. The long waiting times are understood to be generally down the time it takes for a care package to be put in place or for a place in a care home to become vacant.
Public Health Scotland figures showed one in 14 beds in NHS Scotland were occupied by people who were delayed in their discharge, Roughly 66 per cent was due to reasons such as care packages not being available.
Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Delayed discharges involve eye-watering sums of money for the NHS and, in the majority of cases, it is an entirely avoidable problem. Most people are waiting on a care home place, social care support to enable them to live in their own home or for an assessment to be conducted.”
In their response the Scottish Government said: “The last few months have seen extreme pressures across the whole health and social care system and this has seen more people coming through hospitals who need high levels of care and support to go home. Seven per cent of all occupied beds last year were taken up by delayed discharges at a cost in 2019-20 of £142million.”
Sadly the story about the patient forced to stay in hospital is not uncommon with many elderly people not discharged on time because of delays in the social care system. Spending five years in hospital is unheard however and definitely needs furether investigation.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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