For the third month in a row, the number of hospital beds occupied by people who were ready to be discharged has reached a record high, Public Health Scotland (PHS) figures have revealed.
The latest figures from the health body showed the average number of beds being used by people who were awaiting a care package to leave hospital was 1,950 in November 2022.
It is the highest figure since the current guidance came into place in July 2016 – up by 3% from October when the daily average was 1,898.
In September, the daily average was 1,832, highlighting how the issue of delayed discharges has steadily increased as the winter months progress.
The number of people delayed from hospital discharge at the time of the November census point was 1,977 – an increase of 4% in the previous month when 1,910 were delayed.
The total number of days spent in hospital by patients who no longer needed to be there increased by 25% from the previous year.
Some 58,501 days were taken up by delayed discharges in November 2022 compared to 46,894 from the same point in 2021.
The average wait of those delayed was 23 days, the same as the previous three months.
Delayed discharge has been cited as one of the main contributors to the extreme pressures facing the NHS.
The figures come following a press conference on Monday in which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed the issue and said additional funding would be allocated to health and social care partnerships to book beds for those whose discharge is delayed because they do not have appropriate care or accommodation in place.