Call for action to tackle bed blocking ‘crisis’ in Dumfries and Galloway

The Scottish government pledged money to hospitals over the winter after a politician raised the issue of bed blockage in Dumfries and Galloway.

MSP Finlay Carson called the situation in the region a “crisis” and urged Health Minister Humza Yousaf to take action.

He told the News that the number of late layoffs at the NHS gave Dumfries and Galloway “a breathtaking” surge – a 117 percent increase in the past 12 months.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP said: “The SNP has promised to clean up late discharges in our hospitals in Dumfries and Galloway, but has failed spectacularly.

“The number of bed days lost at the NHS Dumfries and Galloway is increasing, and the increase over the past year alone has been staggering.

“This is another example of Humza Yousaf failing to get a grip on a problem in our health service.

“He has to do this immediately and guarantee that NHS Dumfries and Galloway has all the resources they need to deal with the number of bed days lost.”

He added, “A late discharge only increases the discomfort for patients desperate to get home or to a dormitory and makes those waiting on a bed for treatment more anxious.”

And Mr Carson warned the issues need to be addressed quickly to keep the numbers from spiraling completely out of control over the winter.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Our NHS staff are facing unprecedented pressure as they work tirelessly and consistently to respond to the pandemic while ensuring vital treatment and optimal patient care.

“The Minister of Health has made it very clear that this winter is likely to be the most difficult winter in the history of the NHS.

“To minimize the pressure as much as possible, we recently announced £ 300million measures to increase the capacity of the NHS and social welfare and reduce delayed layoffs, which will ensure additional emergency room capacity.

“In addition, we are working with committees to optimize discharge and shorten hospital stays, which in turn reduces delays in A and E.

“That includes £ 10 million for two new specialty programs that will accelerate the discharge process from the hospital or provide an alternative to hospital care altogether.

“We will continue to work closely with the sites facing the greatest challenges and be in daily contact to ensure that rapid recovery plans are in place.”

In the meantime, Mr. Carson wrote to Jeff Ace, Chief Executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, asking what role cottage hospitals could play in alleviating capacity issues, if any.

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