Bed-blocking in NHS Scotland falls by nearly 10% in one year as the rate in NHS England surges to nearly 500% higher, per capita, than that in NHS Scotland!


(c) Healthcare times

Bed-blocking is the result of delayed discharges where the patient is otherwise well-enough to be discharged but cannot be because arrangements for their continuing care or recuperation in the community, are not yet in place.

1 439 people were delayed in the year ending February 2017 while only 1 297 were delayed in the year ending February 2018. This represents a fall of 9.86%.

The fall in the actual number of days of bed-blocking was 5%, down from 40 246 in 2016/17, to 38 394, in 2017/18.

Bed-blocking remains a much more serious problem in England. According to the most recent parliamentary briefing paper:

‘In 2016/17 there were 2.3 million delayed transfer days in England, an average of around 6,200 per day. The average number of delayed days for 2016/17 was 25% higher than the previous year.’

England, as you know by now, has conveniently, ten times the population of Scotland. So, if bed-blocking was a comparable problem in Scotland, we’d have a tenth of the English figure of 2.3 million or 230 000 days of bed-blocking, but we only had 40 246 in the same year, 2016/17. Bed-blocking in England is, thus, nearly 6 times as bad or, for a ‘good’ headline, around 475% worse.

Briefing Paper: Number 7415, 20 June 2017: Delayed transfers of care in the NHS:






2 thoughts on “Bed-blocking in NHS Scotland falls by nearly 10% in one year as the rate in NHS England surges to nearly 500% higher, per capita, than that in NHS Scotland!

  1. Alasdair Macdonald. April 3, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    The term ‘bed-blocking’ is one which looks as if it has been coined for political purposes rather than as an objective description of an issue which requires to be resolved, but for which there is a solution – community care or ‘convalescent homes’ as they used to be known.

    An example of using a phrase which dog-whistles is the ‘bedroom tax’/’spare room subsidy’ dichotomy. Perhaps we could use a phrase like ‘convalescent delayed discharge’, which gives it a more positive spin.

    About a year or so ago there was an approach by an English based company to provide private convalescent facilities, which were given a fairly ‘what’s-not-to-like’ puff by a number of sections of the media, but NHS Scotland gave it short shrift and it was a one-day wonder. I think the privatisers would like to see it as a ‘beach-head’ into the NHS. I suspect that it will become the practice fairly soon in England, probably supported by a number of Blairite Labour MPs. However, apart from the COLONEL’s team, I think there is fairly strong hostility at Holyrood.

    I wonder if such facilities could be built near many of the new health centres which are beginning to deal with many of the kinds of things that people used to go to hospital for elective treatments or to A&Es. Being in communities, opens up the possibility of family, friends and neighbours being able to contribute more easily to the care of recovering patients who are not quite ready to return home.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s