Monthly figures published
Official figures published today show the number of days patients spent in hospital due to delayed discharge in January fell by 12 per cent compared to the same period in 2015.
In total, nearly 50,000 bed days have been freed up in the NHS so far in 2015/16 thanks to a reduction in discharge delays.
It coincides with the first tranche of the three-year delayed discharge funding, of which £30 million was released to NHS and local authorities in 2015/16.
Statistics published by ISD Scotland show that in January, 47,827 bed days were occupied by patients ready to be discharged – compared to 54,207 in the same month of 2015. The February census, which provides a one day snapshot of activity, shows a 6 per cent decrease in delays compared to the census in February 2015.
Health Secretary Shona Robison praised health and social care staff for their efforts to get people home or to a homely setting more quickly, but said more now must be done by the new integration authorities to speed up improvement.
Ms Robison said: "Good progress has been achieved in reducing delayed discharge, and this is testament to the efforts of staff working across health and social to get people back to their communities when they are ready to leave hospital.
"While January is always traditionally the busiest month of the year for the NHS, when you look at the position we're in compared to last year it is clear that improvements have been made. This stands in stark contrast to other parts of the UK where delays are rising.
"This is only the first year of the funding for delayed discharge – with a further £60 million due to come to local NHS and council partnerships over the next two years. In addition to this, we have also recently committed an additional quarter of a billion pounds to social care in next year's budget which will be used to improve the availability of care in communities and fund the living wage for all frontline care sector staff.
"We will be working closely with all integrated partnerships and expect them to use this substantial funding to tackle the issue of delayed discharge once and for all."
The statistical publication, Delayed discharges in NHS Scotland, is published on the ISD Scotland website: http://www.isdscotland.org/