FIGURES revealing that patients in Fife experienced over 43,000 days of delayed discharge last year have been slammed by a Fife councillor.

The statistics from the Scottish Liberal Democrats showed that a total of 43,915 days were spent in hospital in the Kingdom by people whose discharge was delayed in 2022.

Councillor James Calder has warned that the Scottish Government can’t afford to “wait for the wrong solution” as crisis grips the health and social care system.

“Many of the issues facing our NHS in Fife are inextricably linked to the crisis in social care which today’s figures lay bare," said Cllr Calder.

“The pressure and gaps in community care are causing more and more people to be stuck in hospital unnecessarily. People should never have to wait weeks or months on a care home place or help to return home.

“The SNP Government must move heaven and earth to tackle this emergency. We can’t afford to waste time with the constitutional merry-go-round, or to wait for the wrong solution in four years in the shape of a billion-pound bureaucracy and ministerial takeover which would take power away from people in Fife

“Staff and patients need action now. Scottish Liberal Democrats would immediately set national standards and entitlements for users to drive up the quality of care and move quickly to reward staff with better pay, conditions and career progression through powerful national bargaining."

The Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Health, Humza Yousaf, said latest figures had seen a slight reduction in delayed discharges.

“While significant pressure still remains across our NHS, I am encouraged to see that we have seen another slight reduction in delayed discharge between December 2022 and January 2023," he said.

“Addressing delayed discharge remains of critical importance, that is why we allocated an additional £8m to support Health and Social Care Partnerships to make use of additional interim care beds to help ease delayed discharge.

“We will continue to work tirelessly with health boards and health and social care partnerships to ensure a downward trend continues.”

The Fife Health and Social Care Partnership have stressed that the figures stated includes residents waiting in hospitals in other geographical areas as well as in Fife.

Lynne Garvey, Head of Community Care Service, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "Like our colleagues across the country, we have seen an unprecedented level of demand over recent months.

"We are working continually with our colleagues in NHS Fife to do all we can to reduce any potential delays. This means beginning discharge planning at the earliest possible stage to ensure an appropriate package of care or care home placement is in place well ahead of the individual's date of discharge from hospital.

"And in the last month in Fife, there has been less than eight people on any day waiting on a package of care to enable them to go home in any Fife hospital."