Forty percent of older people in Scottish hospitals are having to wait over a month to leave despite being ready to go because care arrangements are not in place.
Age Scotland said the government needed to ‘get a grip on the steadily worsening’ figures, which were released by the Information Services Division, which is part of NHS Scotland.
According to the data, there has been a 10% increase in the number of delayed discharges for the month of June compared to the same month last year.
The total number of days spent by delayed discharge patients in hospital increased by 8% to 42,375 in June this year compared with 39,252 days in 2017.
Based on its own analysis of the figures, the older people’s charity estimates the rise in days – 3,123 – unnecessarily spent in hospital would have cost taxpayers around £727,000.
It said older patients waiting for social care assessments and care home places to become available were the main reasons for the discharge delays.
Age Scotland’s chief executive Brian Sloan (pictured) called the figures ‘scandalous’. He said: ‘We know of older people who see these figures and avoid visits to hospital at all costs for fear of being stuck in the system, unable to leave.
‘Every day our free helpline hears of older people facing delaying in accessing social care due to a lack of funding or resources. This problem isn’t going away any time soon so government and councils across Scotland must get a grip on the situation.
‘These figures are steadily worsening and must serve as a wake-up call to the Scottish government, if the bells aren’t already ringing,’ he said.
The Scottish government’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: ‘June has seen a 2% decrease in bed days lost to delay compared with the previous month.
‘During 2017/18, we achieved a 7% reduction in bed days lost to delay, and we are looking to continue that overall progress this year. To support that, we have transferred nearly half a billion pounds from the NHS into social care and integration this financial year, and the health budget will increase by almost £2bn 2021.’