Bed blocking in hospitals on the rise


Delayed discharges in Scotland have increased 6% in the last year, with the majority of people affected aged 75 or over

18th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Bed blocking is on the rise in Scottish hospitals, statistics have revealed.

New figures showed delayed discharges cost NHS Scotland a total of 521,772 bed days last year, an increase of 6% compared to last year.

A delayed discharge is where a patient continues to occupy a hospital bed despite being clinically able to be discharged.

Of the number of beds "blocked" in 2018/19, 69% were occupied by people aged 75 years and over and Age Scotland described the figures as deeply worrying.

The charity’s chief executive Brian Sloan said “older people are at risk of mobility loss, infection, and loneliness for every day they’re needlessly stuck in hospital.”

“These figures are deeply worrying, but not surprising,” he said. “They reinforce what we’ve been saying for the last year, which is that social care is under immense pressure. On average, 78% of delays were due to health and social care reasons, with 26% of delays due to people waiting for care home availability, and 16% of delay reasons due to awaiting a community care assessment.

“Our Waiting For Care report, published this summer, found that four in 10 older people are waiting longer than the recommended guidelines for care they are entitled to and desperately need.

“Many people end up in hospital for weeks, and some quite possibly spending the end of their lives feeling isolated on hospital wards instead of in the comfort of familiar surroundings. If this number of children were stuck on hospital wards then there would quite rightly be a national outrage.

"We urgently need more investment in our social care system, so that every older person can access the care they are entitled to."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "It is vital that local health and social care partnerships keep developing a range of community-based services which allow people to stay in their homes.

"We continue to invest in social care and integration, and this year our package of investment to support these services will exceed £700m - up from £550m in 2018-19."

18th September 2019 by David Wiseman

I wish the title of this article had not used the term “Bed Blocking ........” This leads to some people thinking that older people are the problem and are the “bed blockers”. The problem is that they are the victims of inappropriate care placements being available to them because of inadequate funding. The article itself was pretty good but the title was inappropriate.