Under the sickening headline:
‘1,000 patients die in hospital on discharge waiting lists’
‘Delayed discharge from hospital has cost Scotland’s NHS more than £360 million since the Scottish Government pledged to abolish it three years ago, analysis claims. The cost of patients lying in hospital beds even though they are ready to go home was revealed in research carried out by the Scottish Labour Party. Delayed discharge – or bed blocking – typically occurs when a social care package is not in place to enable a patient to move out of hospital.’
Further down we find:
‘According to ISD, between March 2015 and January 2018 there were 1,557,781 bed days occupied by delayed discharge. The latest figure by ISD for the estimated average daily cost of a delayed discharge was £223. When the two figures were combined to calculate the overall cost the total came to almost £363m. Scottish Labour blamed Scottish Government mismanagement of the health service for the failure to tackle bed blocking.’
So that’s 1 000 over 33 months or about 350 per year across Scotland’s 32 local authorities or an average of around 11 per authority. Does that look like a system in crisis?
In 2016/17 there were 532,423 bed days occupied by people delayed in their discharge.
In NHS Scotland. Roughly 1 in 12 or 8.2% of beds were occupied by mostly those over 70 years of age awaiting care in the community or at home arrangements, to be made.
This is a fall of 3% from the 2015/16 figure and the most recent figure for October 2017 was 10% lower than in October 2016.
Rather than report the above, the Scotsman used a Labour freedom of information request to report:
‘Figures show SNP pledge to end bed blocking in tatters. More than 1,000 Scots patients have died while waiting to be released from hospital since the SNP pledged to end bed blocking, new figures show.’
Would the Scotsman prefer that these patients were turfed-out to die, perhaps even quicker, in their empty homes, in their children’s living rooms or jammed into overcrowded old folks’ homes?
Leaving aside the tabloid style, this is another example of the way the Scottish mainstream media operates largely as an uncritical (dirty) mouthpiece for the three main opposition parties.
A brilliant, devastating, account of this, leaving the reputation of them all in tatters can be found at Derek Bateman’s excellent blog. He begins:
‘The media has been positively bursting with bad news stories about the SNP government over the holiday period. Expose after expose has covered the front pages and filled the bulletins with a wearying persistence. You’d think the country was going to the dogs what with single-staffed ambulances, Scots missing out on tax credits and violence against shop workers on the rise – stories often based on Freedom of Information Requests and always contriving to make the SNP the culprit.
What has been striking is the repetitive nature of the day-by-day shock horror output, all written with similar phrases and all with the same simple narrative of SNP bad.
You’d almost think it was planned. Well, it was.
The Labour Party has been doing the media’s job for it by spending the summer preparing a long list of negative news stories to feed out daily to the journalists. In keeping with the cosy friendship they enjoy, it is called the ‘Scottish Labour Christmas Box – Stories for the many, not the few.’ Ha, ha. Merry Christmas, comrades.’
Remember, these were not people who died because they had not been discharged but who would almost certainly have died soon after discharge and who, in many if not most cases, died cared for by professionals capable of ensuring that death was as dignified and painless as possible. That Scottish Labour and the Scotsman should try to make political capital out of these cases is beyond contempt.