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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Labour in one week social care guarantee to eradicate bed-blocking

Written by The Press Association

Infirm hospital patients should receive guaranteed social care within a week of being declared fit to go home, according to Labour.

More than 5,000 patients have been held in hospital longer than necessary since the end of 2015 despite a Scottish Government pledge to eradicate bed-blocking by then.

Labour said it would use Holyrood's new tax-raising powers to put a penny on income tax to provide more funding to the NHS.

The pledge comes in the first of series of summer briefings designed to keep the Scottish Government "focused on the day job of protecting public services" as the SNP prepares to protect Scotland's place in the European Union and drafts legislation for another independence referendum.

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar (pictured) said: "The SNP government has broken their promise to end delayed discharge, with more than 5,000 cases identified since the end of last year.

"Scottish Labour would guarantee a social care package within a week to ensure that people can be discharged from hospital when they are fit to go home.

"We would also use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to add a penny on income tax in order to stop the cuts to our public services."

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: "Scottish Labour will not allow the SNP government to only focus on Brexit or making a renewed case for independence.

"Despite pledging to abolish delayed discharge by the end of last year, it is continuing to place a strain on hospitals across Scotland.

"Many cases are because people can't get the care package they need in order to go home. It's simply not good enough."

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: "Tackling delayed discharge remains a key priority for this Government and we will continue to work to reduce delays even further - improving the experience for patients and helping our NHS to run more smoothly.

"A further £60 million specifically to address delayed discharge is going to local NHS and council partnerships over the next two years, and we've committed an additional quarter of a billion this year for social care.

"Good progress is being achieved in reducing delayed discharge. Since January 2007, under this Government, delays of over three days have been reduced by over 40%. The latest annual report also shows over 55,000 bed days were freed up in 2015/16, compared to the year before.

"Delayed discharge continues to fall in Scotland and this is in stark comparison to other parts of the UK where the number of people delayed waiting to leave hospital is on the rise."

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