Figures released by Public Health Scotland on Tuesday show delayed discharge continues to be a concern across south Scotland.

When comparing April 2022 with April 2023, the numbers have shown smaller rises in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders than previously seen. Dumfries and Galloway’s figures rose by six per cent and the Borders by five per cent.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran reported a three per cent decrease.

However, despite this improving picture, the figures for these health boards are still much higher than they were pre-pandemic (April 2019).

Delayed discharge is when a patient is medically cleared to go home but cannot leave hospital, often because a social care package is not in place or there is a lack of places in care homes or sheltered housing.

Across the region thousands of hours of assessed care is not being provided in homes because of a lack of carers.

Colin Smyth said: “While the monthly figures for April are not showing the huge increases we have previously been seeing as compared to 2022, this is not the time to become complacent.

“When you look at the 2019 figures, it really puts things into perspective – in 2023 we have thousands more people languishing in hospital without an appropriate care package in place to get them home or into care homes or sheltered housing.

“Delayed discharge must be eradicated as soon as possible.

“We need long term investment, including tackling the woeful low level of sheltered housing locally, but the Government could start by backing Labour’s plans to pay care workers a fair wage of £12 an hour, rising to £15 which would help with the recruitment crisis.”

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