The audit of critical care across Scotland in 2011, showed that:
- Lack of beds continues to prevent patients being discharged from critical care – with an increase in the levels of delays from High Dependency Units
- Early discharges (discharges before the patient is medically ready) have increased in a number of locations
- 1 in 12 stays in high dependency units are unnecessary – meaning patients who don’t need critical care are taking up those beds – which ‘may be due to a lack of resources in other hospital areas’
- Delayed discharges from critical care remains significant with well over 20% of discharges being delayed. Almost two thirds of delayed discharges from ICU are due to there being a shortage of ward beds. This rises to 90% for delayed discharges from High Dependency Units
Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jackie Baillie MSP, says:
‘This report reaffirms the warning signs that the NHS is coming under increasing pressure with the cuts that have been made by the SNP. It is clear that bed numbers have been cut and the increased pressure on high dependency units will result in more cancelled operations.
‘Off the back of the worrying increase in waiting times in Scotland’s A&E departments, this report shows that pressure on beds and squeezed resources is creating a double whammy: patients who don’t need critical care taking up beds and there are insufficient beds to transfer patients out of critical care when they are ready.
‘It is more evidence that Nicola Sturgeon needs to focus on the day job and stop being distracted by the separation referendum.’
Note: the full report of the Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group is here: Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group Report-2012-Final