NHS Lothian achieves lowest ever level of delayed discharge, national figures show

THE NUMBER of people kept in Lothian hospitals for non-clinical reasons has dropped to the lowest level since national record-keeping began, according to new figures from ISD Scotland.

NHS Lothian and its partner local authorities were successful in cutting the number of people in this position to just 89 at the April 2007 national census.

Delayed discharges are people who are kept in hospital after the completion of their treatment because of a lack of suitable places for them to be discharged to. This can be related to the lack of a suitable care home place, or delays in assessments or the installation of equipment in their own homes.

Jackie Sansbury, the director of strategic planning for NHS Lothian, said:

"NHS Lothian and its partners have worked extremely hard in this area to achieve the high level of performance reflected in these ISD statistics.
"No-one wants to see patients kept in hospital when that's no longer an appropriate environment for them. It's not good for the patients and their families, so we will learn from our successes and continue to try to reduce this figure still further in future."

The number of people delayed in April 2006 was 142 - with the April 2007 performance representing a near 40% drop.

This compares to the position in July 2002 - when there were 503 people kept in hospital for non-clinical reasons.

The April 2007 performance was the best ever result for Lothian since the year 2000 when ISD Scotland first began national monitoring of people in this situation.

In Edinburgh, the opening of a second care home developed in partnership with NHS Lothian - Craigmillar - before Christmas 2007 will assist greatly in keeping the numbers of patients delayed discharge low. A further two homes are jointly planned by the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian to join the first home in the programme, a 60 bedded unit in Lochend which will open this summer.

The purchase of places at a new private sector facility, Guthrie Court, was one of the big factors credited with the achievement of Edinburgh's low figures. The figures for Edinburgh, at April 2007, showed 62 people delayed overall, as compared to a target of 101.

The position in West Lothian was an actual level of delayed discharge of four patients, with the West Lothian partnership delivering its April 2007 target and remaining consistently at the top of the national delayed discharge performance tables published as monthly management information by ISD Scotland for the last 2 years.

In Midlothian, there were 14 patients delayed overall, a drop of 15 on the March 2007 position. In East Lothian, the local partnership met or exceeded its targets, delivering a 38% reduction in the overall number of patients delayed