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Rhoda Grant MSP Forces Answers From NHS Highland About Deaths On Delayed Discharge List

5th January 2015

97 Patient Deaths on Delayed Discharge Lists in NHS Highland Since 2012.

Figures revealed by NHS Highland to Rhoda Grant MSP, the Shadow Minister for Sport, Health Improvement & Mental Health, following a freedom of information request show that nearly 100 patients have died whilst on delayed discharge lists.
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More than 400 patients a year are dying in hospitals across Scotland whilst sitting on a delayed discharge list.

The shock figures were revealed in a freedom of information request by Scottish Labour's Shadow Public Health Minister Dr Richard Simpson MSP and followed up in Highland by Rhoda Grant MSP a member of the Shadow Health Team

According to the official statistics there were 452 deaths in 2012/13 with a further 407 deaths in hospital of patients on delayed discharge lists in 2013/14.

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 out with the NHS such as the patient's home or a care home.

The last figures recorded by the Scottish Government's Information Services Division figures showed that 154,588 bed days were occupied by delayed discharge patients in the last quarter.

At the October 2014 census, 321 patients were delayed over four weeks; 587 patients were delayed over two weeks.

Commenting Mrs Grant said:"The figures reveal that almost every health board in Scotland has had a patient die whilst designated as a delayed discharge.

"In the case of NHS Highland nearly 100 people have died whilst on delayed discharge lists since 2012, which many people will rightly concerned by. I am also dismayed that many boards including NHS Highland are not reviewing these deaths as adverse incidents. The distress caused to the families is surely compounded by this failure."

"Hospital is not the right place for palliative care; many people wish to die at home or in a homely setting rather than in a busy ward. It is wrong that those who are approaching the end of their lives are also stuck in hospital when they should be spending their remaining days in a setting that allows them to live their final days along with family and friends."

The Scottish Labour Health Team is now calling on the Scottish Government's new Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison MSP, to order a full review of the reasons behind delayed discharge deaths.

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