Delaying hospital discharges ‘better than risking lives’

Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert
Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert

Delayed discharges in our hospitals are a headache for patients and staff but at least they do not put lives at risk.

That was the opinion of Councillor John McLuckie at a meeting of Falkirk Council’s external scrutiny committee last week as members looked at the performance of Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, with particular emphasis on the problem areas of delayed discharges and readmissions.

According to the report the discharge target is zero delays of over two weeks, but a total of 29 delays of two weeks and over were reported across the partnership area last year.

Councillor McLuckie said: “Staff have suggested to me they sometimes feel people are going back to their homes still having bad infections and maybe should not have been discharged.

“Delayed discharges are a nuisance, but they are not risking lives like putting people out of the hospital too early.”

It was stated there were occasions when people were discharged from hospital prematurely and there were a number of reasons for this, including the patient being anxious to get home and family anxious to have them home.

However, when family members get their loved ones home they sometimes realise it is a bigger responsibility to look after them than they first thought and this can lead to another problem area for the Health and Social Care Partnership – readmissions.

Steps were being taken to remedy this situation.