Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has been urged to “wake up” by Scottish Labour, as the party said more than 120,000 patients have ended up back in hospital within a week of being discharged in the last four years.
The party said freedom of information requests it submitted to health boards across Scotland revealed that since 2018, at least 128,151 patients had to return to hospital within a week of being sent home.
Labour has warned the figure may be “significantly higher” as NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was unable to provide the requested data.
It comes after Public Health Scotland reported a 3% increase in the average number of hospital beds being occupied per day in April due to delayed discharges in Scotland’s hospitals.
Labour said it is “clear” the Scottish Government “has failed to join up health and social care”.
Jackie Baillie, the party’s health spokeswoman, has called on Mr Yousaf to take action to protect lives.
She said: “It’s clear for all to see that under the SNP the relationship between our NHS and social care system is broken.
“For years, thousands of patients have found themselves back in hospital within only a week of their original discharge. This is wholly unacceptable.
“Plainly, this is the result of pressure on bed numbers due to SNP cuts and a lack of support for social care in the community.
“These are not mere numbers – these are human beings who deserve to be treated properly and with dignity.
“It’s time Humza Yousaf woke up to this issue and took action to keep patients safe.”