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Number of delayed days in hospital increases by more than 20% in past year

There were 1,746 people delayed in hospitals across Scotland in August (Peter Byrne/PA)
There were 1,746 people delayed in hospitals across Scotland in August (Peter Byrne/PA)

The number of delayed days faced by hospital patients has increased by more than 20% since last year, latest figures show.

Data from Public Health Scotland revealed that August 2022 saw 55,753 days spent in hospital by people who were clinically well enough to leave, but whose discharge was delayed.

This is a rise of 21% when compared with 46,171 days in August 2021.

Some 1,798 beds were occupied each day in August this year by those well enough to be discharged, just eight less than in July.

The number of patients who faced delays decreased by 4%, with 1,746 people falling under this measurement – 82 less than the 1,828 delayed in July.

Patients faced an average wait length of 23 days, an increase of 5% on the previous month.

The Scottish Conservatives branded the delays as “soul-destroying” and said the situation is “getting worse, not better”.

The party’s health spokesman Sandesh Gulhane said: “The continued increase in delayed discharge in our hospitals is a damning indictment of Humza Yousaf’s failure to fully resource our social care system.

“Patients desperate to return to their home and their own community are faced with increasingly soul-destroying waits, stuck in a hospital bed because social care packages aren’t available for them.

“Successive SNP health secretaries have completely failed to get a grip of this problem since Shona Robison promised to eradicate it from our hospitals over seven years ago.

“But the situation is getting worse, not better. These latest figures show that the total time patients spent needlessly waiting to be discharged has increased by 21% on last year.

“Not only is this horrible for patients, but the knock-on effects are felt throughout our hospitals.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The SNP/Green Government continues to focus on its tone-deaf bid to break up the UK, but the crisis is social care is not going away. Month after month, more and more people can’t leave hospital because there is no social care package in place for them.”

He added: “The Government needs to take action on this now. We can’t afford to wait for the wrong solution in four years’ time in the shape of a ministerial takeover of social care.”