28 Aug 2012
The number of patients bedblocking in Scotland’s hospitals has risen to more than 1000, figures have revealed.
The report by ISD Scotland has shown that as well as 778 delayed discharge individuals in general wards, there are a further 250 “code nines” who have complex needs and are left off the main statistics.
A bedblocking patient is someone who is well enough to leave hospital, but has nowhere to go, often due to a shortage in care home places or because a social work assessment hasn’t yet been carried out by their local authority.
Today’s numbers mean five per cent of all hospital beds in Scotland are taken up by someone who does not need to be there.
The Scottish Government has vowed to have no patient waiting more than four weeks in hospital from April next year, but as it stands 164 individuals have been stalled for a month or more.
Of the “code nines”, 40 have been in hospital needlessly for more than six months.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman and deputy leader Jackson Carlaw MSP said:
“If this target is to be met in less than a year’s time, we need to start seeing some progress on this.
“It is an unnecessary burden on busy hospitals to have patients with no requirement to be there.
“I’m sure it is equally frustrating for the individuals, who presumably would want to be anywhere but a hospital when they are perfectly able to leave.
“The Scottish Government needs to work more closely with councils to make sure there is enough provision for people to return home or go to a care home.
“It is also unacceptable that those with complex needs are left off the official statistics.
“Their need to be in the correct place is greater than anyone’s, and it is not right in a modern Scotland that 40 people should have been languishing in hospital for more than six months.”