No delays for West Lothian patients

No delays for West Lothian patients
Delayed discharge figures at zero for past six months

No patients in West Lothian are waiting longer than necessary to be discharged from hospital, according to figures released this week.

The official figures published by ISD Scotland show that the number of patients in West Lothian delayed in hospital has been at zero for the past two censuses, in January 2012 and October 2011.

And since the census in July 2009, only one patient in West Lothian has been recorded as being delayed for longer than six weeks in hospital.

In October 2005, a total of 14 patients were delayed, and in January 2006 17 patients spent longer than necessary in hospital.

In January this year, West Lothian was the only mainland area, alongside Orkney and Shetland, which had no patients delayed in hospital.

'Delayed discharges' usually occur when patients - often elderly people - are ready to leave hospital following treatment but do not have a suitable care package.

Across Scotland, the latest figures which were recorded in January 2012, show the lowest ever level for a January census, with only 54 patients delayed over six weeks in hospital.

In comparison, ten years ago, over 2,000 patients were delayed in leaving hospital by more than six weeks.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“No-one should have to stay in hospital longer than is necessary, and we work closely with local authorities and health boards to ensure patients do not have to stay in hospital when treatment is complete.

“West Lothian is a fantastic example of partnership working between the local council and NHS board to drive down unnecessary delays and improve care for patients.

“These figures reflect an overall downward trend across Scotland and we have seen the lowest ever recorded figures for January. To put our achievements in to perspective, ten years ago over 2,000 patients were delayed in leaving hospital by more than six weeks, now that figure is down to 54.

“We are clear in our ambitions to deal with the problem of delayed discharges and that is why we have set revised targets to have no-one delayed for more than four weeks by 2013 and more than two weeks by 2015. 

"Our plans to integrate health and social care will also represent the radical reform that is needed to improve care for older people, and to make better use of the substantial resources that we commit to adult health and social care.

“In particular we have created a £70 million Change Fund which will rise to £80 million this year to help local authorities and NHS Boards work together to redesign services that should reduce delayed discharge of all lengths.”

Jim Forrest, Director, West Lothian Community Health and Care Partnership, said: “We have worked extremely hard in this area to achieve what is an outstanding level of performance.

“The latest figures should be commended and are as a result of a concerted effort by staff, not forgetting the patients and their families all involved in the process.

“Nobody wants to be kept in hospital longer than is appropriate. It’s not good for the patient or their families and we will continue to strive towards maintaining this level of care in the future.”