Scotland ‘leads the way’ tackling delayed discharges

Local authorities in Scotland claim they are leading the way in
trying to solve the UK-wide problem of delayed discharge,
writes Nicola Barry.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ spokesperson on
social work, Ronnie McColl, told Community Care he is
“very glad” the Scottish executive has not chosen the same policy
as England for tackling delayed discharges.

“In England and Wales the NHS is charging councils for the cost
of blocked beds in order to speed up the process. But such an
approach is counter-productive,” he said.

“What happens is the NHS and councils all start bickering with
each other and nothing gets resolved. ‘Joint Futures’, the approach
currently being promoted by the executive, is a far more promising
way forward,” he said.

Health minister Malcolm Chisholm announced a special learning
network and a national information bank as the latest efforts to
tackle ‘bed-blocking’ in Scotland’s hospitals.

The learning network will provide a forum for senior staff
working in health, housing and social services to learn about
initiatives that have been effective in tackling delayed discharge
in other areas.

Chisholm said: “It is completely unacceptable that thousands of
people, particularly older people are being let down and end up
languishing in hospital longer than absolutely necessary. Real
progress must and will be made, otherwise – as I have warned before
– action will be taken.”

At present there are some 3,000 patients throughout Scotland
occupying hospital beds when they are ready to be discharged.

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