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NHS 24 – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 18th November 2004.

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Photo of Bill Butler Bill Butler Labour 2:00 pm, 18th November 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to reduce bedblocking. (S2O-4128)

Photo of Andy Kerr Andy Kerr Labour

As I said to Dennis Canavan, tackling delayed discharge is one of our biggest priorities. No one should have to remain in a hospital bed when they can be more appropriately cared for in the community. Since we published our action plan, the number of patients delayed in Scotland has reduced by 1,184 and the number of patients delayed for more than six weeks has almost halved. In the Greater Glasgow NHS Board area, the number of delayed discharges has reduced over the same period from 464 to 264 and the number of patients delayed for more than six weeks has reduced from 295 to 144.

Photo of Bill Butler Bill Butler Labour

I welcome those figures. Will the minister outline to Parliament the specific steps that have been taken and the measures that the Executive intends to promote to enable Greater Glasgow NHS Board more effectively to deal with the problem and further to reduce the figures?

Photo of Andy Kerr Andy Kerr Labour

Our objective is to ensure that local authorities, care home providers and health boards work collectively to solve a difficult problem. The Executive has been putting in work and resources to ensure that that happens. There have been considerable reductions in a number of the blockages in the system.

Health boards and local authorities are being much more proactive about the management of the issue. The acute outreach and rapid response teams that have been developed in the greater Glasgow area are helping, as are the purchase of additional care home places, enhanced home care and equipment adaptations—all those factors are reducing the problem. I am still not satisfied, however, and we need to maintain pressure on boards and local authorities to ensure that the matter is addressed. I look forward to continuing that work. We know that there is a problem, but the numbers are falling and we will continue to focus on the matter.