The number of patients stuck in hospital despite being well enough to leave has increased by 9 per cent in a year, official figures show.
The latest Scottish Government statistics reveal that, as at February 2019 a total of 1,419 people had their discharge from hospital delayed.
This represents a 9 per cent increase on the February 2018 census point, when 1,297 people were delayed.
The most common reason for delayed discharge, also known as bed blocking, was a lack of suitable care packages being in place.
This accounted for 808 patients being stuck in hospital, with 72 per cent delayed for more than three days.
READ MORE: Hundreds die waiting to be discharged from hospital
Complex needs was the second most common reason at 267 patients (24 per cent), followed by followed by patient and family-related reasons for 47 patients (4 per cent).
During the month, 40,813 days were spent in hospitals across Scotland by adults whose discharge was delayed, up 6% from the 38,394 days in February 2018.
Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said delayed discharge is an “expensive drain on pressured NHS resources”.
She added: “Underinvestment in social care continues to prevent people from safely leaving hospital, despite the SNP promising to end delayed discharge. It’s time the Scottish Government kept its word and put the dignity and well-being of people in need of social care first.”
READ MORE: Lost bed days ‘cost NHS Scotland more than £120 million in year’
Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said: “Delayed discharge decreases hospital capacity, costs millions of tax payers pounds a year and, most importantly, is bad for patients who don’t want to be stuck in a hospital bed once they are medically fit to leave.
“It is not the fault of patients who aren’t able leave hospital that they don’t have anywhere to go, the blame falls solely at the feet of the SNP which has allowed this crisis to develop.”
Lib Dems Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Well over 1,000 are stuck in hospital on any given day when they are well enough to go home because there isn’t enough care available in the community. That’s a disgrace.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “No-one should spend unnecessary time in hospital once treatment is complete. “That is why we are allocating more than £700 million to support social care and integration in 2019-20, helping to reduce delays.”