Shock as mental health patient spends 10 YEARS in hospital needlessly as pressure grows on Humza Yousaf

Posted: 31st July 2023

mental health patient spent almost a decade in hospital unnecessarily due to Scotland’s chronic delayed discharge issues, it has been revealed. Another was forced to wait more than six years before a suitable outside care package could be found for them.

The shock revelation has heaped pressure on the already beleaguered First Minister amid increasing demands he sort out of the country’s NHS problems immediately. Figures show that more than 300 patients with mental health problems had to stay in hospital waiting for care.

The Scottish Conservatives said the statistics should “shame” Humza Yousaf. The party’s health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “These intolerable stats are both deeply concerning and a damning indictment of the SNP’s mismanagement of our NHS.

“Delayed discharge has knock-on effects across the health service – impacting on A&E waiting times and cancelled operations – but first and foremost it is soul-destroying for the patients directly concerned.” He continued: “It is extremely distressing for anyone to be stuck in hospital when they are fit to leave but for vulnerable mental health patients it is especially damaging to their well-being.

“The fact that one patient has been unnecessarily holed-up in hospital for nigh-on a decade ought to shame Humza Yousaf and Co.” Dr Gulhane added: “The SNP’s abject failure to tackle delayed discharge – by ensuring social care packages are in place for patients capable of leaving hospital – continues to do enormous damage and must be tackled immediately.”

Research by the Scottish Conservatives revealed that 356 mental health patients had to be kept in hospital, despite meeting the criteria to be discharged. However, the true figure could be even higher, as two of the country’s 11 mainland health boards did not supply figures.

Island health boards do not have any in-hospital mental health patients. While the average delay patients experienced was 178 days, NHS Lothian revealed that one patient had their departure from hospital delayed by between 3,000 and 3,500 days – a period of up to about nine-and-a-half years.

NHS Lothian also had the highest number of mental health patients who suffered a delayed discharge with 96 people affected by this with an average delay of 336 days. NHS Fife said it had one patient who was delayed by more than six years with discharge held up for 2,489 days.

Meanwhile, both NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Tayside had patients who were delayed by more than 1,000 days – with waits of 1,080 and 1,061 days respectively. Tracey McKigen, services director for the Royal Edinburgh and Associated Services at NHS Lothian, said: “We’ve made significant improvements to mental health services and continue to work with the health and social care partnerships to reduce discharge delays.

Some patients have highly complex needs and must have bespoke care plans in place in the community before they can be discharged.” A Scottish Government spokesman said: “It is critical that people are cared for in the right setting as we continue to face pressures on out health and social care system.

SOURCE: SCOTTISH DAILY EXPRESS

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