Bed-blocking across Tayside hospitals is falling, new figures have revealed.
A census carried out in hospitals throughout Scotland in December revealed 1,333 patients were affected, down from 1,509 the previous month.
The figures, published by ISD Scotland, revealed 67 people faced delays getting out of hospital in Tayside, down from 78.
But a senior health official at NHS Tayside said the problem is still having a serious impact on hospital staff.
Bed-blocking — also referred to as delayed discharge — occurs when patients are kept in hospital after being told they are well enough to leave.
Health minister Shona Robison today said the figures show delayed discharges are at their lowest level since June 2016.
She said: I remain determined to eradicate this problem and to do this we’ve allocated an additional £107m for health and social care integration, bringing social care funding to around £500m a year, with £30m of this specifically to tackle delayed discharges.”
The issue was discussed at a meeting of NHS Tayside’s finance and resources committee yesterday.
It was revealed that £3.1m was spent nationally on the problem last year, equating to £150 per day across Tayside’s hospitals.
Alan Gall, interim director of performance at NHS Tayside, said senior management are spending a “completely disproportionate” amount of time trying to resolve the problem when they should be doing other things.
He said: “There have been times where we’ve needed them to be involved in meetings but they simply cannot because they’re busy trying to handle delayed discharges.
“It’s an extremely difficult problem to solve but it’s definitely having a negative impact on the board’s ability to operate.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “NHS Tayside has been working very closely with the three health and social care partnerships and third sector partners to build sustainable solutions that seek to reduce unscheduled care and demand and avoid unnecessary delays in discharging patients from hospital.
“We are also expanding our enhanced community support model of services that cares for people in their home settings, helps avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and ensures patient discharge from hospital is not delayed.”