Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson says the SNP must take action to stop delayed discharging across the region as new figures show it cost the local health board an estimated £2.8m in 2017/18.
Across NHS Dumfries and Galloway over 12,000 bed days were lost to delayed discharge which resulted in the almost £3m costs at a time when the health service is facing up to £20m of cuts in the next financial year.
Mr Carson has raised the matter of delayed discharge with the health board recently to question how it will be addressed in the future, especially in Newton Stewart where concerns remain over the long term future of the cottage hospital.
The local MSP says it is time for the SNP Government’s Health Secretary Shona Robison to come good on her promises to end delayed discharging, with Ms Robison saying back in 2015 that she was determined to eradicate it out of the system.
Commenting Finlay Carson MSP said: “These new figures highlight the inaction of the SNP Government to finally end delayed discharge from our NHS once and for all.
“Across Dumfries and Galloway, we are seeing patients being unable to be treated as over 12,000 bed days have been lost to delayed discharging which is costing the health board significant sums.
“I have raised this issue with the health board to urgently seek how it will be addressed, considering the major concerns over the future of cottage hospitals in the region.
“The SNP’s Health Secretary has repeatedly made good noises on eradicating delayed discharge in our hospitals but it is clear that the policy of integrating health and social care is not going as planned.
“In rural areas, we simply do not have the numbers in terms of carers to look after patients when they are discharged from hospital, which the integrated joint board must address in order to avoid further knock on effects on local health services.”
“We need to review that policy to ensure that the right resources and action is being taken in order to reduce the costs of delayed discharge to our health boards.
“I will continue to raise this matter with both the SNP Government and local health board in order to ensure patients are not missing out on vital treatment.”