Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this story in the Independent?

This is the picture of a story from the Independent.

It concerns shocking figures unearthed by Scottish Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton which show the terrible lengths of time people can wait for discharge from hospital in Scotland for “health and social care reasons”, There was one example where one person had to wait for almost a year and a half.


Alex said:

In November I asked the First Minister about a constituent of mine who had spent 150 nights in hospital due to delayed discharge.

Nicola Sturgeon described the situation as unacceptable.“What then are we to make of patients in hospital for up to 500 nights, perhaps because carers can’t be found to visit them at home or there isn’t a care home place available?

Under the SNP, 1,000 beds were lost from Scotland’s hospitals during the same three years. Our under-pressure NHS can ill afford delayed discharges on this extreme scale.

Our social care spokesperson, Karen Clark added:

For someone to be needlessly stuck in hospital for up to eighteen months is nothing short of a national scandal.

Medical staff had declared these patients ready to leave. Seeing care packages fall through, time after time, causes patients and their families immense stress. And there can be no doubt that someone spending such a prolonged time in hospital when they should be at home will impair their mental and physical health.

These statistics show the scale of the task that integrated joint boards faced when they took over. We urgently need to know what steps these boards and SNP ministers have taken to ensure that such waits are eliminated from the system.

Obviously, it’s good that the Independent published the story. But they have made a bit of a mistake with it. Can you see what it is?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • I think we would be surprised at how many people in Scotland and Wales think he’s running their NHS. Handy though if your actually the party that is. i suppose for the SNP and Welsh Labour he has his uses.

  • Matt (Bristol) 6th Feb '17 - 11:29am

    Completely agree that
    a) maintaining the myth that Jeremy Hunt is somehow responsible for Scotland, or that there are direct correlations between Scottish ones and English ones , is an extremely unhelpful way of attacking the government.
    b) delays in hospital are damaging people’s lives and show how the complex of relationships between citizens, NHS, councils, central government and the residential care / home care industries is completely breaking down.

    But: there are situations where the declaration that someone is ‘medically fit for discharge’ (which is ultimately a judgement call, and therefore open to negotation by medical staff) is at best wishful thinking. There have been situations where said ‘fit’ person is subsequently reassessed as unwell but this is not captured in the NHS data. I have know paranoid and delirious individuals experiencing hallucinations declared ‘fit for discharge’. There is no national standard on this. These statistics are gathered by NHS managers and used as part of a war on councils (who goodness knows are implicated in the disaster that is unfolding, but not the sole actors), but they need critical probing.

    Numbers are not automatically truth and targets are not efficiency, as David Boyle has pointed out a few times.

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