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Delays over three days lowest since August 2013.
Official figures published today show the number of days patients spent in hospital due to delayed discharge in December 2015 fell by 18 per cent compared to the same period in 2014.
At the January census, which provides a snapshot of one day during that month, the number of people waiting longer than three days to be discharged was at its lowest level since August 2013.
The statistics, published by ISD Scotland, show that in December 2015, 46,878 bed days were occupied by delayed discharge patients – compared to 57,187 in December 2014 and 47,862 in November 2015 (a reduction of two per cent).
The January census shows 606 patients waited over three days to be discharged – the lowest level in nearly two and a half years. Out of the 32 local authorities, 17 recorded delays over three days in single figures, of which four had none.
Health Secretary Shona Robison praised health and social care staff working across Scotland for their efforts to get people home or to a homely setting more quickly.
Ms Robison said: "Tackling delayed discharge is one of the key priorities of this Government. The figures published today show significant progress has been achieved - particularly around the length of time patients have to wait to be discharged from hospital.
"This is down to the efforts of health and social care staff working together, in a more integrated way, to ensure the right package of social care is in place in the community to allow people to be discharged from hospital.
"It also reflects the significant investment we have made into tackling delayed discharge and improving the availability of social care. Further funding is also planned for social care next year, with an additional £250 million announced by the Deputy First Minister as part of next year's budget.
"We have been working closely with local NHS and council partnerships that have the most challenges, which has resulted in significant reductions in their delays. In particular, between December and January, Lothian recorded a 22 per cent reduction in delays over three days and Grampian saw a 14 per cent reduction.
"However I recognise there is much more to do. We are ambitious in our aims in this area and we'll continue to work closely with local councils and NHS boards to reduce discharge delays and improve the availability of social care in communities."
The statistical publication 'Delayed Discharges in NHSScotland' is published on the ISD Scotland website: http://www.isdscotland.org/
In January 2015, the Scottish Government announced £100 million over three years to tackle delayed discharge: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/-100-million-for-delayed-discharge-14b9.aspx