Magazine article Public Finance

Audit Scotland Condemns Unfair Target for Cut in Delayed Hospital Discharges

Magazine article Public Finance

Audit Scotland Condemns Unfair Target for Cut in Delayed Hospital Discharges

Article excerpt

Audit Scotland has criticised the Scottish Health Departments method of setting a national target for a 20% annual reduction in delayed discharges from hospitals.

The public spending watchdog says the way the target is set potentially penalises efficient health partnerships because the best performers are then set a more challenging target for the following year.

The Audit Scotland report is the result of an innovative project in which the watchdog worked with the NHS board and the three councils that make up the Tayside Partnership. It reveals that the number of patients staying in hospital longer than necessary has fallen by 40% - down from 3,021 to 1,785 - between September 2000 and January 2005.

However, it emphasises that an ageing population means that further action is needed, including preventing unnecessary hospital admissions; speeding up discharge planning arrangements in hospitals; and ensuring that older people have the right health and social care services to support them in the community. …

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