Dozens of patients have died while on a delayed discharge waiting list in the health board areas covering Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh since the SNP Government pledged to abolish the practice.
In February 2015, SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison promised to completely eradicate delayed discharge from the NHS by the end of that year.
However, data obtained by local MSP Jackie Baillie revealed that 79 patients in NHS Highland and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde died while waiting to be discharged from hospital from March 2015 until September 2016.
Freedom of information requests from Scottish Labour found that, across Scotland, nearly 700 patients have died while on waiting lists. The figures are expected to be higher as some health boards were unable to reveal total figures as it may have identified the individual patients.
A delayed discharge is identified as a hospital inpatient judged clinically ready to leave hospital, who continues to occupy a bed beyond the ‘ready for discharge’ date. These patients are clinically ready to move on to a more appropriate care setting either within or outwith the NHS – such as the patient’s home or a care home.
Jackie Baillie said the figures showed the need to invest in social care, as the failure of the SNP to invest in social care has increased the pressure on our hospitals.
“These are horrifying figures. Behind every statistic is a grieving family who said goodbye to their loved ones in hospital when they should have received the care they need at home or in the community.
“Nearly two years ago Shona Robison promised to eradicate delayed discharge out of our NHS -; instead the problem is now getting worse and increasing the pressure on our hospitals.
“Further cuts to local councils which provide social care will only add to this, and it shows the complete mismanagement of our NHS under the SNP. Labour councillors in West Dunbartonshire voted to stop the cuts to social care and protect nursing home placements to help tackle delayed discharge.
“Fixing delayed discharge will begin to relieve the pressure on our hospitals and NHS staff, allowing for better patient care for everyone -; but we can only do that if we invest properly in local services. After a decade in government it beggars belief that the SNP still has not realised that