Patients stuck in hospital for 7,500 days due to delays

Borders General Hospital near Melrose in the Scottish Borders.
Borders General Hospital near Melrose in the Scottish Borders.

Delayed discharges left patients in Borders hospital beds unnecessarily for more than 7,500 days last year, new figures have revealed.

‘Bed blocking’, where patients are well enough to be discharged but have nowhere to go, increased throughout 2013. Most delays were due to community care assessment reasons and patients waiting for places in care homes.

Jane Davidson, NHS Borders’ chief operating officer, said: “ When we look back over the last three years, from January 2011 to December 2013, the total number of bed days occupied by patients classified as delayed discharges has reduced by over 40 per cent.

“This work continues to be of great focus for us. It’s important for our patients and therefore for our staff, and we will continue to collaborate with the council and other partners to give this careful attention.”

Responding to the delayed discharge figures, John Lamont MSP said: “This can cause a lot of distress amongst patients, who instead of being allowed to leave hospital are forced to stay far longer than necessary. It also causes huge problems for hospital managers who are having beds taken up when there are sick patients in need of care. It is entirely unacceptable to leave these individuals languishing in hospital.”

He has called on the Scottish Government to take “real action” to help patients.