12 October 2019

A Freedom of Information request from Jackie Baillie MSP, who is Convener of the Cross Party Group on Learning Disability, has uncovered the level of delayed discharge experienced by patients with learning disabilities in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

In August 2019, one patient being treated by the health board had their discharge delayed by 1537 days (4 years 2 months) with the average delayed discharge for patients in that month alone being 703 days (1 year 9 months).

The health board claimed that the reason for these significant delays is in part due to the places that individual patients hold at specialist residential facilities having been allocated to another individual.

The response stated “Placement breakdown is common and impacts significantly on the ability to achieve timely discharge.”

Furthermore, the health board disclosed that patients are more likely to experience a timely discharge if their reason for treatment is related to mental ill health, rather than physical health.

Jackie Baillie said :

“These figures are shocking proof that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and local Health and Social Care Partnerships are letting down patients with learning disabilities.

"The fact that there are patients, who should have been discharged over 4 years ago, still lying in a hospital bed is appalling and is evidently not of benefit to either the patient or the NHS.

“The excuse that these delayed discharges happen because the person’s community placement has been given away is utterly unacceptable.

"It is clear that social care services for complex cases are wholly in adequate given the level of delayed discharge for people with learning disabilities.

“The Scottish Government need to initiate an urgent investigation into the delayed discharge of patients with a learning disability in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and their access to social care services to enable them to return to their local community.”
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