7 August 2019

Hospital delays and cancelled operations are symptoms of an NHS in distress, Scottish Labour has warned.

Official figures released today confirm an increase in the number of operations being cancelled because hospitals cannot cope, and that the SNP Government is still failing to deliver on its promise to end delayed discharge.

There has been no improvement since last year in getting people who are medically fit to leave hospital back home or into a community setting – despite SNP promises to end the practice. Three-quarters of delayed discharge cases are because social care services are not in place.

Scottish Labour also expressed concern about emergency waiting times, with Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital seeing the longest A&E waits.

Over one in four patients at the flagship hospital waited longer than the 4 hour target time last week.

Scottish Labour said urgent action must be taken to improve performance and protect the future of the NHS.

Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon said:

“More operations cancelled because hospitals can’t cope, long waits in many A&E departments and promises broken on delayed discharge are just a few of the problems piling up on the Health Secretary’s desk, on top of the hospital safety scandals the SNP is mired in.

“These new figures confirm what patients and NHS staff know - that our health service is not getting the resources and attention it needs from SNP Ministers who promised so much but are delivering so little.

“Scottish Labour is urging the SNP Government to redouble its efforts to improve the health of the nation and make our NHS and social care services fit for the future.”

Delayed Discharges in NHSScotland • In June 2019, there were 42,252 days spent in hospital by people whose discharge was delayed. This is similar to the number of delayed days spent in hospital in June 2018 (42,375).

• In June 2019, the average number of beds occupied per day due to delayed discharges was 1,408. In May, the daily average was 1,454

• At the June 2019 census point, there were 1,442 people delayed. This is similar to the number of people delayed (1,436) at the census point in June 2018.

• Of those delayed at the June 2019 census point, 1,187 were delayed more than three days with health and social care reasons accounting for 893 delays (75%), complex needs accounting for 269 delays (23%) and patient and family-related reasons for 25 delays (2%).

Cancelled Planned Operations The total number of planned operations across NHSScotland during June 2019 was 26,906, a decrease of 4.8% from 28,255 during June 2018.

Despite this, there was a 2.9% increase in the number of planned operations which were cancelled between June 2019 (2,345 cancellations) and June 2018 (2,278 cancellations).

8.7% of all planned operations were cancelled in June 2019, ranging from 3.6% to 15.6% across individual NHS Boards. This compares to 8.1% in June 2018.

In June 2019, 532 operations were cancelled by hospitals due to capacity or non-clinical reasons. This is an increase of 130 cancellations from 402 in June 2018.

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