The County You Live, Work And Play
Patients Discharged Through The Night
More than 11,000 patients have been discharged from Lanarkshire hospitals in the middle of the night over the past two years, new figures reveal.
A freedom of information request shows that the number of county patients discharged from hospital between 11pm and 6am, between October 2013 and September 2015, was 11,164.
The total for Scotland was more than 40,000 and is likely to be significantly higher as no figures were supplied by Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Forth Valley or Tayside.
As a result of the information released to Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson, Central Scotland Labour list MSP, Margaret McCulloch said: “Health boards in Scotland reported over 40,000 instances of patients being discharged from hospital between the hours of 11pm and 6am – and over a quarter of those cases have come from Lanarkshire hospitals.
“I have written to the Health Secretary to demand an explanation and to find out exactly why this is the case. My worry is that there is such pressure on the health service in Lanarkshire that they feel compelled to discharge patients during unsociable hours to free up beds.
“I want an assurance that the safety and security of patients is not being compromised in any way.”
Heather Knox, NHS Lanarkshire director of acute services, said: “These figures cannot be interpreted as the actual time of discharge. Our electronic system records the time of data entry rather than the actual time the patient was discharged. To say that this is the time that the patient was sent home is inaccurate. And this was highlighted in our freedom of information response to Dr Simpson. The overall discharge figure for Lanarkshire includes over 2000 deaths. Safety is our top priority when discharging patients.
“We only discharge patients when it is appropriate to do so and it is not our normal practice to discharge patients between the hours of 9pm and 9am.”