Delayed discharges from Scottish hospitals are on the increase, according to new figures.
Official statistics show there were 168 patients waiting six weeks or more to be discharged in January. This compares to 128 at the October census, and 83 in January 2010.
Delayed discharges, or “bed-blocking”, occur in most cases when patients are unable to leave hospital because they are waiting for care arrangements to be put in place.
Overall, there were a total of 790 delayed discharges in Scotland in the latest round of statistics, compared with 776 at the October 2010 census, and 606 in January last year.
The latest figures have prompted renewed calls for the Scottish Government to take further action.
Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, said: “Politicians claim the NHS budget is being protected from cuts. But if local councils are struggling to make ends meet, this can result in delays in making care home places available.
“As a result people who are well enough to be in a homely setting end up staying in hospital wards for no good reason. This is not good for patients and increases the financial pressures on the NHS. Unnecessary hospital stays are not dignified and benefit no one. This upward trend in delayed discharges must be reversed to make patient care better for all.”
Read the ISD Report on Delayed Discharges in NHS Scotland