The Scottish Government have outlined the action they will be taking to get patients who no longer need to be in hospital are reassessed as soon as possible to get them the right care in the right place at the right time.
Before the end of this month each health board area will identify patients who are clinically safe to be discharged without further delay and can safely move home or to another setting such as a care home.
Speaking on the plans Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “First and foremost, we know hospital is not a good place to be for people who are medically fit to leave, because it can lead to them becoming weaker or less independent. That’s why it’s so important they can move home, or to a homely setting, as soon as possible.
“We believe this will also help to alleviate pressure on our NHS by freeing up beds and improving the flow of patients through hospitals. It is also, crucially, in the best interest of the people concerned.
“If we can reduce delayed discharge there is more chance that beds will be available for people who need them. We hope that these reviews will also contribute to reducing some of the pressures our hospitals are facing.”
Staying in hospital is not always the best option for patients who are clinically fit for discharge, with longer hospital stays not in the best interest of some patients, particularly some older patients who find their ability to look after themselves reduced when they return home.
The approach to reassess patients is based on good practice already adopted by several health boards, with patients inly being discharged if it is deemed safe. The clinical risk assessment will take into account the capacity of social care and social work as well as the potential impact on families or carers of patients.
The plans are the latest step in efforts to free up capacity across Scottish hospitals and help the NHS through the toughest winter in its history. It builds on work carried out last week which saw £8 million committed to provide an extra 300 interim care home beds to help patients get discharged quicker. Plans were also announced to help boost NHS 24 services with target of recruiting around 200 new starts before the end of March.