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Delayed discharges from critical care double in a year

Delayed discharges from critical care of over 4 hours have doubled in the last recorded year according to the latest audit of critical care in Scotland.

The Audit of Critical Care in NHSScotland Annual Report 2019, which reports on 2018, found that last year 46% of patients had to wait over 4 hours to be discharged from critical care, while in 2017 this was only 22% - less than half.

The report stated that these issues of delayed discharge continue to be a challenge for critical care units mostly due to capacity issues in other areas of the hospitals.

The publication goes on to highlight staffing shortages in particular areas and “difficulty in filling medical and nursing staff posts”.

And lastly, some units have found attaining the minimum standards and achieving improvements challenging.

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary said:


“This damning report of critical care in Scotland highlights the deeply negative effects of the SNP’s failure to ensure our NHS has enough staff or enough beds.

“The SNP is nowhere near its target of eradicating delayed discharge, and this report shows that they simply won’t be able to until the staff and bed issues are solved.

“The SNP’s mismanagement of our health service means that patients are staying in inappropriate settings far more often, which is bad for them and frustrating for their families.

“Only Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives will focus on primary care to alleviate the capacity pressures elsewhere in the health service.”


Notes to editors:

The full report can be found here –

2018 critical care delayed discharge can be found here - – pg 15

2017 critical care delayed discharge can be found here - – pg 24

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