ELDERLY patients spent more than 19,000 days in Fife hospitals when they were ready to be discharged, according to released figures.

Records from Public Health Scotland show that in 2020/21, people aged 75 and over within Fife spent 19,253 days in beds.

This represents a rate of 570 bed days per 1,000 people, compared to 488 per 1,000 across the whole of Scotland.

A delayed discharge occurs when a patient is clinically ready for discharge but cannot leave hospital because the other necessary support or accommodation for them is not readily available.

Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Mark Ruskell said: “It’s extremely disappointing that delayed discharge rates in Fife are above the national average.

“No-one wants to spend any more time in hospital than they need to and the last year has demonstrated the need for our health services to make efficient use of its capacity.

“It’s vitally important that these figures come down and the resources are put in place to ensure older people leaving hospital have the support necessary to ensure they can leave hospital as soon as they are well enough to do so.”

Fife Health and Social Care Partnership said that the figures included patients with “complex” discharge arrangements, which factors in housing and health services for example, to allow for a patient to be discharged and cared for correctly.

“Where complex discharge arrangements are required, individuals may be delayed in hospital although they are medically fit for discharge,” a spokesperson said.

“In these cases, expertise from social work, social care, housing and health services are often required to work together to ensure patients are given the specialist person-centred support they need to ensure a smooth and successful discharge.

“In some cases, it is also necessary to train carers with particular skillsets, all of which takes time to put in place.”