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Rise in hospital falls and bed sores in Scotland since pandemic

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The number of falls and bed sores recorded in Scotland's hospitals has increased since the Covid pandemic, new data shows.

NHS staffing pressures and the deconditioning effect of the Covid lockdown creating more frail patients are being blamed for the rise.

The Scottish government paused work on a national prevention strategy for falls when the pandemic started. The strategy has now been shelved and experts argue this is a mistake.

Figures released by NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) show that in 2018-19 - the last full year before the Covid pandemic - a total of 26,489 falls were recorded in hospitals.

Dawn Skelton, a professor in ageing and health at Glasgow Caledonian University, said there was a "maelstrom" of problems fuelling the increase in hospital falls.

She said: "You've got staffing issues definitely but you've also got people who are going in to hospital a step change frailer than they were pre-Covid because of what has happened with all the restrictions.

"The people in these falls figures have got no reserves, blow on them and they will fall over, so they are at more risk when they go in."

IProf Skelton said it was time to resurrect the Scottish government's falls and fracture prevention strategy as its "value now cannot be underestimated".

She added: "Falls and frailty are one of the main causes of long hospital stays and demands on social care and without a spotlight on both the management, but also prevention, the financial and staffing demands on NHS and social care will only rise."

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Source: BBC News, 10 November 2022

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