12 August 2019

Critical care units in Scotland lost the equivalent of an additional 1,000 patient stays in 2018 due to a lack of hospital beds as a result of delayed discharges.

New figures released in the audit of critical care have revealed there were a total of 6,969 ‘bed-days’ in intensive and high dependency care units lost to delays.

The delays are mostly due to bed shortages in other areas of the hospital, but health boards also highlighted staffing shortages in some areas with difficulty filling medical and nursing staff posts.

The average delay was over 16 hours.

The population of patients in intensive and high dependency care settings are ageing and increasingly likely to have complex chronic health conditions, posing a challenge for services.

Scottish Labour warned the delays are yet more evidence of increasing pressure on the health service and an NHS in distress.

Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon MSP said:

“These new figures confirm what patients and NHS staff know - our NHS is in distress and struggling to cope with demand.

“This is further evidence that delayed discharge in other parts of the hospital, due to the SNP’s complacency on social care, is having a knock on effect on other parts of our NHS.

“A lack of hospital beds is putting pressure on already overworked staff and means patients are stuck in intensive and high dependency care for longer than they need to be.

“This can’t continue – Scottish Labour is urging the SNP government to redouble its efforts to invest and make our NHS fit for the future.”
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