You're viewing our new website - find out more


Dramatic drop in delayed discharge

Published: 7 Dec 2015 10:51

Glasgow health & care services prepare for winter

The number of hospital beds lost to delayed discharge in Glasgow has nearly halved compared to the period heading into winter last year, Health Secretary Shona Robison said today.

In particular, figures for bed days lost due to elderly Glasgow City patients waiting in hospital have reduced by 70 per cent since November last year. Patients waiting over three days to be discharged has fallen by two thirds since the start of the year as well.

The Health Secretary today thanked health and social care staff in Glasgow on a visit to Oakbridge Care Home – an intermediate care facility in the west of the city.

Ms Robison said that tackling delayed discharge was crucial to ensuring hospitals were able to deal with the expected increase in patients over winter and called on local authority and NHS partnerships to follow Glasgow's lead.

She said: "The figures in Glasgow are impressive. Over the last 12 months, there have been significant and sustained reductions in the number of people delayed in hospital because they are waiting for the appropriate care and support in the community.

"Hospital bed days lost have halved, far fewer elderly patients in Glasgow are waiting in hospital and we've seen a big shift towards discharging people within three days.

"This is a much improved picture from last year and is important progress as we head towards winter. Reducing delayed discharge helps to free up hospital beds and eases pressure on the front door of the hospital.

"It shows what can be delivered when local services work together, and I want to today take this opportunity to thank all staff in Glasgow for their efforts to reduce delayed discharge and get people back home or to a homely setting."

In the last year Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde have opened around 100 intermediate care beds and changed their discharge policies, with a focus towards discharging patients within 72 hours and assessing older people for long-term needs in more homely settings.

Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "Developing the Intermediate Care programme has been a huge challenge, but there's no doubt it is making a real difference to frontline services.

"Bed days lost and delayed discharges among over 65s have dropped significantly, but it is also helping more service users to return home or move into less intensive forms of residential care.

"Nurses, social workers, rehabilitation staff and other support staff are all involved in the delivery of intermediate care and it's down to them that results are so positive.

"Intermediate Care proving to be an early success for the Glasgow Health and Social Partnership and shows the potential that exists in integrating services."

Ms Robison added: "The Scottish Government has supported the Glasgow partnership, and other local partnerships across Scotland, through an investment of £100 million over three years to build up social care capacity and improve local discharge procedures.

"While Glasgow City is leading the way, other local areas have also seen significant reductions in their delayed discharge figures. Nationally, delayed discharge is eight per cent lower than at the same time last year and waits over three days have fallen by nearly 15 per cent.

"This improving picture is also reflected in A&E waiting times – with the latest data from October showing 94.7 per cent of patients seen within four hours compared to 91.8 per cent in the same month last year. This equates to nearly 3,500 more patients seen within four hours.

"While we cannot predict what this winter will bring, we can ensure that our health and social care services are as prepared as possible. In total this Government has invested £55 million towards winter preparedness and all boards now have their resilience plans in place to ensure they can keep services running smoothly over the winter period. Winter guidance for boards was also issued two months earlier this year than previous years.

"People across Scotland can also play their part by ensuring they know who to turn to if they fall ill. Accident and emergency should always be for genuine accidents and emergencies. NHS 24 and GP out-of-hours services are always available if you feel unwell and it cannot wait until the morning. Your local pharmacy can also help if you have a common condition or a question about medicines."

Notes to editors


Delayed discharge and accident & emergency statistics are published on the ISD Scotland website:

The Glasgow partnership introduced their 'discharge to assess' policy, supported by intermediate care, in December 2014.

The latest published delayed discharge statistics from September 2015 show that in the Glasgow City area 3,145 hospital bed days were lost due to delayed discharge. This compares to 5,689 bed days in November 2014.

Bed days lost for standard delays for people over 75 reduced from 3,284 in November 2014 to 990 in September, a reduction of 70%.

At the October 2015 census, there were 25 delays over three days – compared with 106 in November 2014, a reduction of 76%.