THE number of Nithsdale residents who have faced delays in being discharged from hospital rose by one third last year.
Health chiefs admit that bed blocking and care at home provision continues to be a “significant challenge” in Dumfries and Galloway.
And a new report, prepared for next week’s meeting of Nithsdale Area Committee, shows that there has been a sharp increase in the number of residents from the district who have not been released from hospital when they should be.
It states: “The number of people resident in Nithsdale who experienced a delay in hospital rose to 429 compared to 323 for the same period in 2021/22 (33 percent).
“This is also reflected in the number of bed days lost to delayed discharges which rose to 19,860 compared to 12,253 in 2021/22.”
Stephanie Mottram, interim manager for community health and social care, said that various improvements have been made or are being planned.
These include the establishment of a specific care and support at home division engaging directly with care at home providers, a “significant improvement” to the stability of the GP out of hours service, and the implementation of a community waiting times system after an initial test of change.
She said: “Our challenge at present is preparing for the forthcoming winter, where demands on all health and social care services are at their peak.
“Our teams in community waiting times, home teams, cottage hospitals and care and support at home are integral to our ability to manage capacity across health and social care over these difficult months.
“We are working with colleagues across health and social care on the delivery of new models of discharge planning; this has included successfully ensuring all cottage hospital in-patients have a planned date of discharge within 48 hours of admission.
“Delayed discharge continues to be a significant challenge across the sector due to the high levels of demand placed on all services, particularly care and support at home.”