Cllr Tim Brett, a member of the Health and Social Care Partnership, has raised concerns about the increasing number of delayed discharges being experienced by NHS Fife.
Cllr Brett, a previous Chair of the Health and Social Care Partnership, has highlighted the fact that the figures for July 2014 of 96 delayed discharges are at the highest level they have been since January 2011. He noted that 12 patients have been waiting more than 12 weeks and a further 27 are waiting more than 4 weeks and said, ‘I am aware from my previous experience that this is a very worrying figure, particularly as this is in the summer months and we would normally expect to see an increasing number of delayed discharges over the winter period.
I am sure that this number will be causing real concern to NHS Fife as they struggle to keep up with both emergency demands on their services and also deal with waiting lists. I know that this number of patients will also be increasing costs to the NHS of several million pounds and given the fact that the Council’s Social Work Service are also facing very real financial pressures this must be a major worry.’
Cllr Brett continued, ‘When I asked the question at last week’s Health and Social Care Partnership meeting, the Chair, Cllr Andrew Rodger, advised me to look on the ISD website to obtain the figures. I firmly believe that the Partnership should be receiving these figures on a regular basis as a matter of course. The Health and Social Care Partnership has responsibility for overseeing all services in Fife and delayed discharges are a good indicator as to whether the systems in place in both the NHS and the Council are working properly. It is simply not good enough for Cllr Rodger to state that members of the Partnership should look for this information elsewhere as, if this is the case, I do not see the point of having a Health and Social Care Partnership. I am not suggesting that figures are deliberately being withheld from the Partnership but this might be the conclusion that others would reach.’
Cllr Brett gave further details about the business considered by the Partnership. ‘At last week’s meeting we had reports on Re-Shaping Care For Older People, reports on the Winter review 2013-14 and a report on year 2 of the Local Unscheduled Care Action Plan. In none of these reports were there any figures for delayed discharges, even though it is recognised that this is a very real issue faced by Fife and all other Councils and Health Boards in Scotland.’
He concluded, ‘I have now had a chance to look back at the papers for the last 4 meetings of the Partnership and at none of these have figures on delayed discharges been presented. I am calling on Councillor Rodger to ensure that we do get regular information on delayed discharges at the Health and Social Care Partnership in future. I know that this is an issue which is being discussed between the NHS and the Council and is also of major concern to the Scottish government therefore it is a matter that should also be coming to the Health and Social Care Partnership.’