THE number of bed days lost due to delayed discharges of people from Inverclyde has rocketed in the past year.

According to data released by ISD Scotland, the figure more than tripled between November 2018 and November 2019 from 48 to 155.

The number of bed days lost in Scotland as a whole increased by just over two per cent in that time, from 43,918 in November 2018, to 44,915 in 2019.

A delayed discharge occurs when a patient who is clinically ready to leave hospital is unable to do so because other necessary care or support for them is not readily accessible.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, who sits on the Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS board, said: “Delayed discharge is a problem.

"If more people are staying in hospital, it’s not good for them and it’s not good for the NHS.

“People should be rehabilitated in the best place for them.

“At Inverclyde Royal Hospital though, we are quite good at getting people back home where they should be.

"We use the home-first model, which I believe is the way forward.”

The model focuses on providing support for patients who are medically fit to be discharged but still require additional home support and has proven to help reduce the number of delayed discharges.

A total of 6,724 bed days were occupied by delayed discharges at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC) hospitals in November last year – a rise of a third compared to the previous November.

An NHS GGC spokesman said: “We are fully committed to ensuring patients are discharged to the most appropriate setting for their care needs as timeously as possible but there are a variety of reasons that a patient can be delayed.

 “For many patients there are complexities involved which makes it difficult to expedite their discharge.

"In many instances, it is to ensure the right support package is in place at home or the right care environment is available for them and we work with our local authority partners to put the right package in place as quickly as possible.

 “At all times our priority is to provide patients with the highest standards of care and support.”

Age Scotland’s chief executive Brian Sloan added: “We are extremely disappointed to see the latest delayed discharge figures remain stubbornly high.

“This highlights the tremendous strain Scottish social care is under with stretched budgets, a lack of staff and an ageing population.

“We know older people stuck in hospital beds as a result of delayed discharge are effectively ageing 30 years in just three weeks, and long hospital admissions put patients at increased risk of infection, loss of mobility and can severely impact their mental health and loneliness.

“We urgently need more recruitment and investment in our precious social care services.”