6 November 2019

The SNP is failing to deliver on promises to end delayed discharge, as increasing numbers of operations are cancelled because hospitals cannot cope.

Patients in Scotland spent more than 45,000 unnecessary days in hospital in September of this year, showing no improvement on the same month in 2018.

New ISD figures show that patients were stuck in hospital for a total of 45,632 days in September 2018 – with an average of 1,521 beds needlessly occupied each day as a result of delayed discharge.

Statistics released today also highlight an increase in the number of operations cancelled across NHS Scotland in September, with 543 cancellations due to capacity issues and other non-clinical reasons – an increase of 26.6 per cent on the number cancelled for this reason in September 2018.

These figures follow a freedom of information investigation by Scottish Labour, which found that in the last two financial years over 1,000 operations had to be cancelled in Scotland due to a lack of available equipment.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson, Monica Lennon, said:

“Each day lost to delayed discharge of patients who should be in the community puts further pressure on NHS resources and needlessly puts people at risk of hospital acquired infections.

“It is no wonder our hospitals are struggling with capacity issues when thousands of beds every day are occupied by patients who are medically fit to leave hospital.

“Jeane Freeman promised to end delayed discharge, but there has been no improvement in the last year.

“Cancelled operations are distressing for patients and the increase in cancellations due to a lack of capacity and equipment is extremely concerning.

“Scottish Labour will make investment in health and social care services our priority and deliver real improvements for patients and staff.”
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