A further £100m will be invested in the NHS over the next three years to help cut the numbers of people waiting to be discharged from hospital, the Scottish Government has announced.
Ministers have said tackling the problem of delayed discharges is a top priority for the administration at Holyrood.
The money will be used to help health boards and local authorities deliver care and support for people at home or in a similar setting.
The move is aimed at preventing delays in discharge, as well as preventing admissions to hospital and attendances at A&E.
It is hoped that, together, the measures will reduce pressure across the system.
Health secretary Shona Robison said: “Tackling delayed discharge is an absolute key priority for this government and today’s announcement of £100m over the next three years is crucial to this effort.
“Reducing delayed discharge not only helps individual patients, who benefit from getting home or to a homely setting as quickly as possible, but also helps ease pressure across the system.”
Of the £100m funding package, £30m will be invested in 2015/16, The 2015/16 funding will come from Barnett consequentials, with the remaining £70m coming from subsequent health budgets.
Ms Robison added: “This is about far more than just investment, it forms part of the Government’s overarching commitment to implementing the integration of health and social care services across Scotland.
“This will involve health boards working closer than ever with local government in a new relationship to deliver the right care to people in the right place at the right time.
“It will also include a shared commitment to deliver on key issues, such as discharging patients within 72 hours of clinical readiness, and reducing the number of hospital admissions that are avoidable.
“Today’s announcement builds on the significant progress made to devise new and innovative ways to improve the flow of patients through health and care services.
“We will continue to support this work, together with our partners in the NHS and local government, to reshape the health and social care system as we work towards integration coming into force in April.”
A taskforce has been set up with council body Cosla to roll out the plans to tackle delayed discharge.
Cosla’s health and well-being spokesman, Councillor Peter Johnston, said: “This is a timely investment from the Scottish Government amidst a challenging operating environment for councils and health boards.”
The funding announcement comes in a month when hospital accident and emergency departments came under considerable pressure due to high levels of demand, leading to extended waiting times in some places and the postponement of some planned medical procedures.
And on Monday, a council and health board were told to make urgent improvements in a bid to tackle the problem of bed-blocking.
Ms Robison was later accused of showing “gross discourtesy” to the Scottish Parliament for telling the press before informing MSPs.
Holyrood presiding officer Tricia Marwick criticised Ms Robison for revealing the funding to tackle delayed discharges in a press release and photocall in Dalkeith, rather than in the Holyrood chamber.
Ms Marwick, a former SNP MSP, challenged the SNP Health Secretary on the matter but said she found her response to be “unsatisfactory”.
The presiding officer reminded ministers that major policy announcements must be made to Parliament first, and threatened to haul ministers before Parliament regardless of their other obligations if it happens again.
In a statement to Holyrood, Ms Marwick said: “At this morning’s bureau meeting, James Kelly, the Labour business manager, expressed concern at the announcement made this morning to the media and not to the Parliament by the cabinet secretary for health, wellbeing and sport on funding to tackle delayed discharge.
“I asked the minister for parliamentary business to investigate the matter and come back to me. I have subsequently spoken to the minister and I find the response to be unsatisfactory.
“All members will be aware that the good practice guidance on announcements by the Scottish Government states that major policy announcements should always be made to the Parliament. They should not enter the public domain through any other route.
“While I accept that the Government is entitled to exercise its judgement on making announcements, this was clearly an announcement of significant public policy and should have been made to the Parliament in the first instance.
“In addition, the issue of delayed discharges has been of great concern to many members over the last few months.
“I therefore consider it to be a gross discourtesy to this Parliament and its members that the announcement was not made here first.
“When a similar situation arose last year, I indicated that it was my expectation that the Government should reflect on its actions. I am very disappointed that this does not appear to have happened.
“I would therefore again ask the Government to reflect on its actions today and the consequences for ministers that will flow from similar actions in future.
“I also advise the Government that if a request for an emergency question had been made this morning, I would have accepted it and I would have obliged the cabinet secretary to be here in this chamber in person regardless of her other commitments. Be in no doubt that I will do so in the future.”
Great you might think, and you’d be right. But lets strip this down and look at the way the SNP are using this as propaganda to fool the Scottish into thinking they care about them, or care about NHS Scotland.
Barnett Consequentials, what are they?
Barnett Consequentials are payments made to Scotland when public spending is increased in England only, or England and Wales. We receive the equivalent of about 10% of the extra spending South of the Border. For example, if Westminster spends an extra £100m on health, Scotland gets £10m in extra funding for health. These payments are announced in the Chancellor’s autumn statement, and the money is available immediately.
Now, lets strip down the SNP Announcement, and show it as the propaganda that it is.
The 2015/16 funding will come from Barnett consequentials
This clearly shows that the SNP are NOT funding this during 2015-2016. Westminster is funding it via Barnett Consequentials. The money is extra funding that was given to Holyrood in November 2014, and not spent for 2 months. During that 2 months, we had A&E departments cracking under the pressure from bed blocking. At least some of, if not all, of that pressure could have been ended.
Now we move on to the following years.
with the remaining £70m coming from subsequent health budgets.
Again, they are trying to fool the Scottish public into thinking that they are spending extra money. But as you can clearly see, there is no new money. Cuts will have to be made elsewhere in the NHS Scotland budget to pay the £35m each of the two subsequent years.
There you have it, more deceit from the SNP.
They truly have no shame whatsoever.