Delayed discharges reducing but further challenges remain find MSPs


Tackling delayed discharges is critical to delivering person centred care, however there are a number of barriers including funding that are preventing people from getting the care they need in the right place according to the Health and Sport Committee.

Following a short piece of work, the Committee agreed further efforts required to be made to tackle delayed discharges, as they outlined their concerns in a letter to Health Secretary Shona Robison MSP.

 The Committee found the causes for delayed discharges varied but included:

• Lack of preventative care or alternatives to admissions;
• Slow turnaround in assessment and discharge planning;
• Lack of capacity in care homes/care at home;
• Court delays; and
• Funding pressures.

 Convener of the Committee Neil Findlay MSP said:

 “Our Committee has made clear that as well as incurring significant costs delayed discharges negatively impact on the health and well-being of the person receiving care.

 “Delivering reductions in the number of delayed discharges will be a key marker of the success of the integration of health and social care. It’s too early to come to any firm conclusions on that but it’s clear more work is needed if we are to effectively and consistently reduce the number of delayed discharges from within the NHS.

 “We also simply don’t know how effective additional resource that has been injected into the system to tackle this issue has been unless a proper assessment of spending is provided. It is also unclear the extent to which additional funding is being used to invest in preventative approaches.”

 The Committee were also concerned about delays in discharging people with mental health problems suggesting court and other legal delays were contributing factors.


A copy of the letter can be found here.

Code 9 delays capture delayed discharges which are classified as complex. These arise either when there are legal processes causing the delay (often applications for guardianship orders) or in cases where there are no suitable facilities in a Health Board area suitable to meet the needs of individuals requiring complex care.

The Committee also recently issued a survey to all Health and Social Care Partnerships which asked about the impact of delayed discharges.

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