INVESTIGATION: Delayed discharges from mental health wards of more than three years recorded

By Karin Goodwin in The Ferret

People have faced “unacceptable” delays of more than three years before leaving mental health wards, despite being well enough to be discharged, a Ferret investigation has found.

Findings based on data released under freedom of information legislation from Scotland’s 14 health boards reveal thousands of instances of delay in people leaving psychiatric hospitals.

In the three year period from January 2018 to Dec 2020 there were 46 delays of more than a year. This included at least 13 people in 2018, 16 people in 2019 and 12 people in 2020.

In at least 17 instances, people were not able to leave a ward for more than two years after being signed off as fit to do so by a doctor. In the most extreme cases people were left living in limbo in mental health wards for three years or more.

In 2019 five people in the care of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had been waiting for more than three years to be discharged for mental health wards and NHS Tayside reported five “episodes” of delayed discharge of more than three years. In 2020 one person in Greater Glasgow  had been waiting for more than three years and a further five “episodes” of more than three years were reported in Tayside.

Picture: Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow.

Read the full story on The Ferret website.

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