Scotland

'Bed-blocking' in Scottish hospitals falls by 9.6%

Old person's hands on hospital bed Image copyright Getty Images

The number of patients kept in hospitals after they are clinically able to leave has fallen by 9.6% over the last year, official figures showed.

In September 2017 there were 1,378 cases of delayed discharge in Scotland, down from 1,524 in September 2016.

These delays mean some hospital beds are not free for others who need them.

Most often, patients were unable to leave because they were waiting for care services or for a space in a home to become available.

The majority of patients stuck in hospital were over 75 years old.

41,718

the number of days patients were stuck in hospital

1,378

delayed discharges from hospitals in Scotland

  • 458 delays while care arrangements were being made

  • 451 patients were stuck in hospital for more than six weeks

  • 363 patients waited for a place in a home or facility to become available

  • 70% of delayed patients were over 75 years old

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About 400 people were left in hospital because the social care support they needed in order to live in their own home was not available, while more than 200 had to wait for a place in a nursing home.

Of those who could not leave hospital in September 2017, 1,140 had to wait for for more than three days.

A third of delayed patients had to wait in hospital for more than six weeks - a 2% increase from last year, despite the fall in the figures overall.

The number of combined days that beds were blocked by patients stuck in hospital has also gone down since September 2016.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "It's welcome that, compared to the same month last year, we've seen a substantial 7.4% drop in the number of days patients spent in hospital whose discharged was delayed."

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