Freedom of Information Act reveals almost four-year wait for discharge in Scotland

A Borders patient declared ready to leave hospital waited almost four years to be discharged, a Freedom of Information Act request by the Scottish Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The request has yielded information revealing that Scottish people were stuck in hospital on delayed discharge for hundreds of days on average after they were declared ready to leave, due to health and social care reasons during 2018/19.

Lack of available support in the community, including care home places has resulted in the following worst examples of delayed discharge, the party says:

  • Patients waiting more than a year in Lothian, Dumfries and Galloway (391 days), Fife (447 days) and the Borders (680 days).
  • At least one patient discharged in Tayside during 2018/19 who had waited more than two years.
  • A patient who at the end of 2018/19 was still waiting to be discharged in the Borders, despite having been declared ready to leave 1,373 days prior – a case that the health board described as “very complex”.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

“Keeping someone in hospital unnecessarily for a year costs the NHS almost £100,000. Hospitals are getting congested all the way up to critical care because there isn’t enough capacity to take care of people in the community. It’s time to end the social care scandal.”

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