Despite massive ongoing increases in demand for inpatient appointments requiring beds, and subsequent social care arrangements, NHS Scotland has been able to keep the use of beds due to delayed discharges relatively static with inevitable increases at manageable levels.
There was an 8% increase on the September 2017 figure, in September 2018. The increase in demand for inpatient appointments rose 11.9% in the same period and had risen 34.9% in three years.
It is worth pointing out that in December 2017, January 2018 and February 2018, when the flu outbreak was at its height, delayed discharges were lower than the corresponding months – Dec 2016, Jan & Feb 2017. Well done to the NHS and carers.
Of course that was not acknowledged in any way by opposition politicians or media. Rather they made a lot of noise about the March 2018 figures which showed a 3% increase compared to March 2017. An increase that was hardly surprising given the very bad weather in that month. Discharging frail elderly into a blizzard where even if a care package was in place carers could not get through because of that weather. Not a good idea but again one that opposition and media did not acknowledge.
Since then delayed discharges have been increasing but that may be an indication of the increasing problems in the care sector – closing care homes, difficulty filling the increasing number of vacancies (Brexit effect?).
But overall the integration of Health and Social care into Integration Boards has had a positive effect on delayed discharges but there are signs it may be under pressure due to factors outwith its control.
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