Delayed discharge numbers drop in Fife

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A boss of NHS Fife’s health and social care partnership has praised staff for reducing the region’s bed-blocking figures.

According to Cllr Andrew Rodger, the number of delayed discharges has reduced from 143 in December to 34.

His comments come after a report revealed one hospital patient in Fife waited over a year to be discharged, despite being medically fit to leave.

Cllr Rodger said this was an example of a small number of exceptionally complex cases but overall numbers were significantly better now than before.

He said: “Anyone in hospital is one too many, I understand that, but we are going in the right direction to bring these down.”

Longer-term cases were most often due to legal processes, or the need to find specialist accommodation.

“We have weekly meetings to discuss all cases in detail and have a dedicated delayed discharge worker who liaises with other services, including social work, to ensure patients are discharged from hospital as soon as possible,” he commented.

Cllr Rodger criticised the cost increase of medicines, however, and warned the NHS could not cope.

“In the most extreme case, the price of hydrocortisone 10mg tablets rose by 12,500 per cent from 70 pence a packet in 2008 to £85 a packet,” he said.

He added: “I believe the public of Fife need informed what really goes on in our National Health Service – it is great that we have free prescriptions in Scotland but surely not at any cost.”