Action to cut delayed discharge

National exercise to re-assess hospital patients who are clinically safe to be discharged.

Patients who no longer need to be in hospital are to be reassessed as soon as possible to get them the right care in the right place at the right time.

Before the end of the month each health board area will identify patients who are clinically safe to be discharged without further delay and can safely move home or to another setting such as an interim placement in a care home.

Staying in hospital is not the best option for those who are clinically fit for discharge. Being in hospital for longer than needed is not in the best interests of the individual, particularly for older patients, reducing their ability to look after themselves and return home.

This approach is based on good practice already adopted by several health boards. Patients will only be discharged if it is deemed safe, and clinical risk assessments will take into account the capacity of social care and social work and the potential impact on families or carers of patients.

This is the latest step in efforts to free up capacity in hospitals and help get the NHS through the toughest winter in its history. It builds on last week’s £8 million commitment to provide an extra 300 interim care home beds to get patients discharged quicker.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“First and foremost, we know hospital is not a good place to be for people who are medically fit to leave, because it can lead to them becoming weaker or less independent. That’s why it’s so important they can move home, or to a homely setting, as soon as possible.

“We believe this will also help to alleviate pressure on our NHS by freeing up beds and improving the flow of patients through hospitals. It is also, crucially, in the best interest of the people concerned.

“If we can reduce delayed discharge there is more chance that beds will be available for people who need them. We hope that these reviews will also contribute to reducing some of the pressures our hospitals are facing.”


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