BED-blocking has cost the NHS £110 million in the last year, new figures have revealed.

NHS Scotland estimates that it costs £214 a day to keep a patient in hospital who is medically cleared to return home, known as delayed discharge or bed-blocking, Labour said its analysis shows.

Read more: 3000 doctors quit Scotland to work abroad since 2008

It said in the period of September 2016 to August 2017, the most recent figures available, 511,972 bed days were occupied by delayed discharge patients, meaning the cost to the NHS for the year was £110 million.

HeraldScotland: Health Secretary Shona Robison

Shona Robison, Scottish Health Secretary, above said billions more funding are being allocated to the health service to tackle problems like bed-blocking

Labour claims one of the key reasons that delayed discharge remained a problem was cuts to the budgets of local councils who provide social care and its social care spokesman Colin Smyth said: "The system is unsustainable.

“Much of the delays in discharging patients are due to social care issues and delays in care assessments – the result of years of an SNP government slashing local authority budgets, with £1.5billion cut since 2011.

“Labour would take a different path. We would end the cuts to our councils and deliver a National Guarantee for care workers.

Read more: 3000 doctors quit Scotland to work abroad since 2008

He said: "Labour would ensure all care workers are given appropriate training, paid the living wage, including the time and cost for travel, and no worker would have to deal with the insecurity of a zero-hours contract.

Ms Robison said that "no one should wait longer than absolutely necessary to leave hospital, and that’s why we have legislated to integrate health and social care to ensure services are planned and commissioned in a joined up way from a single budget".

She said: "This year, almost half a billion pounds of additional investment will go into social care and integration while the health revenue budget will increase by almost £2 billion by 2021.

Read more: 3000 doctors quit Scotland to work abroad since 2008

“Attracting and retaining the right people, and raising the status of social care as a profession, is also key to delivering quality care. That’s why we have taken action to protect our social care services, including paying the Living Wage to adult care workers.

“I welcome the progress that health and social care teams are making, with the most recent figures from August showing the number of bed days lost to all delays was eight per cent lower than August last year.

"The number of people delayed over three days due to delays in health and social care also fell by 10 per cent compared to last August.”

Read more: 3000 doctors quit Scotland to work abroad since 2008

Earlier this month First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, below, was warned by one of her own MSPs, Christine Grahame, that the flagship integration of health and social care is admirable in theory but was running into problems on the ground.

HeraldScotland: Nicola Sturgeon

The First Minister’s official spokesman later said Ms Sturgeon thought health and social care integration was "working well".

The Borders SNP MSP Ms Grahame said one of her constituents had waited eight months for a care package.

The integration of health and social care services in 2016 was one of the biggest projects of devolution, with new integration bodies spending £8bn a year.

The money was previously split between NHS board and councils and a key aim is to cut bed-blocking.