Hospital at home is a success and should be expanded. It has allowed more than 300 Glaswegians to be at home rather than in hospital. This week, I am sponsoring Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s exhibit in the Scottish Parliament promoting the hospital to home service that it offers. Hospital to home is not just for the over-65s; it is for everyone, and it offers significant support

Full text of speech

I am pleased to speak in this debate to acknowledge the contribution of the Scottish Government’s hospital at home strategy. In Glasgow, a test-of-change pilot for hospital at home was introduced by the Glasgow city integration joint board in January 2022. By March this year, it was reported that up to 1,200 at-home bed days had already allowed many Glasgow residents who are over 65 to leave hospital earlier, or to avoid admission to hospital and instead receive enhanced care at home. That is better for patients and it takes strain off our NHS in acute settings.

Receiving the care that they need at home from nurses, advanced nurse practitioners, GPs, pharmacists, occupational therapists and consultant geriatricians with a wraparound service has allowed more than 300 Glaswegians to be at home rather than in hospital. That is a success story, but I am keen to hear about any qualitative data that has been collected regarding the views of people who have benefited from hospital at home and any changes that they have suggested could be adopted.

I am also keen to hear about whether, as part of hospital at home, patients who are required to run essential medical machines and other equipment, such as air mattresses or electric hoists, in their homes have been offered support with their utility bills. More generally, people who live at home with medical conditions long term incur more expense, which can be due to their need to wash and dry clothes and bedding more frequently, or to keep their homes at the right temperature to support their care. I would welcome any information that the Scottish Government can provide, in summing up the debate, on how it offers assistance with that.

I acknowledge, however, that hospital at home is a success and should be expanded. I also welcome the £10.7 million investment in hospital at home since 2020. Given that the initiative is funded by channelling money via integration joint boards, and given their financial challenges, I am interested in learning more about how the Scottish Government monitors the wider budget pressures on IJBs. I have written to the cabinet secretary about concerns regarding changes to provision in my area that might impact on frail elderly people. We do not want any unintended consequences. I look forward to a detailed response on that matter from the cabinet secretary, in due course.

This week, I am sponsoring Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s exhibit in the Scottish Parliament promoting the hospital to home service that it offers. Hospital to home is not just for the over-65s; it is for everyone, and it offers significant support. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland states:

“Every day people in Scotland are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. But our amazing nurses, support workers and volunteers are here to make sure you don’t have to recover alone.”

The service offers free practical help, support and advice, which is often face to face and one to one, through community support teams and home visits. Many people who have suffered cardiac arrest or stroke might previously have been active. Others might previously have lost the confidence to be active, or have lost the networks that enable them to be connected and active and to avoid social isolation. The work of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland can make a real difference in that context. Its hospital to home service can lower rates of readmission to hospital and avoid unscheduled care and presentations at accident and emergency departments.

Hospital to home clearly has an important part to play and surely complements hospital at home. I look forward to further expansion of hospital at home in an iterative way that is informed by patient experience and is part of a broader range of services.

I will support the Government motion.

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