By Lucy Ashton 

The SNP must answer for their ‘broken promises,’ Jackie Baillie has said, as chaos in our NHS has continued despite promises to fix the situation after the lowest point of winter.

Scottish Labour’s intervention comes as delayed discharge levels remain far too high with 51,905 NHS hospital bed days lost in June 2023 alone as patients ready to leave hospital had their discharge delayed. This is equivalent to an average of 1,700 beds occupied every day by patients stuck in hospital, despite the current First Minister promising action to tackle the issue at the start of the year.

The number of cancelled operations has also remained startlingly high with 615 planned operations cancelled either on the day or the day before because hospitals did not have capacity. In NHS Greater Glasgow alone 87 operations were called on the day or day before for non-clinical reasons representing a 26 percent increase between May and June.

This has had a ‘domino effect’ on A&E, where patients are still facing lengthy waits. At the Royal Alexandra Hospital alone in June, just 66.1 percent of people were seen within the four-hour target set by the Scottish Government. Throughout the month, 436 people faced a wait of eight hours or more.

Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie and Health Secretary Michael Matheson.

Dumbarton constituency MSP,  Jackie Baillie, said: “At the height of the winter crisis, the SNP promised to get a handle on delayed discharge and the chaos facing our health service.

“Six months on, delayed discharge remains startlingly high due to the unending crisis in social care.

“At the same time, the SNP has allowed long waits to become the norm in A&E, whilst more and more patients are faced with planned operations being cancelled due to a lack of clinical capacity.

“This is simply not good enough. Labour know that if we are to reduce long waits for patients then we need to boost capacity and prioritise social care so people can access services in the community.

“Michael Matheson must get to work and deliver meaningful action to get our NHS back on track.”

Delayed discharge, June 2023

  • In June 2023, the average number of beds occupied per day due to delayed discharges was 1,730
  • At June 2023 census, 1,738 people were delayed, similar to May 2023 census (1,748).
  • In June 2023, there were 51,905 days spent in hospital by people whose discharge was delayed. This is an increase of 3% compared with the number of delayed days in June 2022 (50,340).


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