24.01.2023 - 07:47 / dailyrecord.co.uk
Scotland needs 1000 new hospital beds to deal with a bed-blocking crisis clogging up the entire health service. More than 1900 patients are currently trapped in hospital who are well enough to leave, according to the latest figures.
The impact is being felt sharply at hospital doors with lengthy queues at A&E and some hospitals cancelling non-emergency operations.
In November, there were 58,501 days spent in hospital by people whose discharge was delayed – bed blocking. This is up 25 per cent on figures from November 2021.
John-Paul Lough-rey, vice president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine for Scotland, said the situation is so dire in some hospitals that offices and relatives’ rooms are being converted to take an A&E overspill of patients.
Loughrey, who sees the pressure at emergency departments daily as an emergency medicine consultant, said: “We need more beds in Scotland – we are about 1000 beds short. The true problem isn’t too many people coming to see us who shouldn’t be there.
“Our attendance numbers are actually still lower than they were before Covid. Delayed discharge is occupying beds and costs a huge amount of money. It is a huge problem when we already have a shrunken bed base.
“It washes through the whole emergency care system, which is evidenced by not being able to move people on and ambulances queuing outside.
“My own experience and that of everyone in emergency medicine is particularly frail, vulnerable and elderly patients attend by ambulance and have to wait six hours or more at times.
“We use a four-hour-safety standard in emergency departments to make sure patients flow into the system in time but after five or six hours there is increased risk of harm or even death by long emergency