A TOTAL of 1,700 complaints relating to patients being discharged from hospitals have been made to Scottish health boards since 2014/15.

And figures show 1,007 have been either fully or partially upheld – equivalent to almost 6 out of ten of all discharge-related complaints.

It comes amid rising concern over delayed discharges, where a patient is well enough to leave hospital but has to wait for outside assistance to be put in place such as social care provisions.

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Yesterday it emerged one patient in the Borders had waited nearly four years to be discharged, in a case the health board described as “very complex”.

Meanwhile, the number of hospital beds being “blocked” by delayed discharges rose by six per cent between 2018/19 and the previous year.

The latest figures were uncovered by Scottish Labour using Freedom of Information laws.

SNP ministers previously said they were determined to “eradicate delayed discharge out of the system”.

Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon called on the Scottish Government to “step up and deliver”.

She said: “Sadly, social care delays continue to stop people from leaving hospital and returning safely to their own homes or a community setting.

“The Scottish Government has broad support for its plans to integrate health and social care services but it needs to step up and deliver.

“People should not be stuck in hospital because of social care shortages.

“Scottish Labour is committed to introducing a Scottish Care Service to improve the working conditions for social care staff, reduce waiting times, and to help our NHS.”

Delays to hospital discharge often arise because a social care package to allow someone to safely return home or community based care is not in place.

At the census point in each month of 2019/20 so far, around three-quarters of delays have been due to health and social care reasons.

New figures show NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde alone has dealt with 813 complaints over hospital discharges since 2014/15. More than half of these were upheld or partially upheld.

Data released to the Scottish Liberal Democrats under FoI legislation previously revealed the scale of some the delays faced by patients and hospital staff.

NHS Borders topped the list with a patient who had waited 1,373 days – almost four years – by the end of 2018/19.

NHS Fife had a patient waiting 447 days, followed by NHS Dumfries and Galloway, where a patient had been waiting 391 days.

The LibDems said keeping someone in hospital unnecessarily for a year costs the NHS almost £100,000.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said it is investing more than £700m this year to support social care and integration. She added: “Progress has been made in reducing delays – bed days lost are down by 1 per cent overall since 2016/17. However, we want to go further with our partners in local government, the NHS, and in integration authorities to address where delays have increased and work to improve performance.

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“The on-going integration of health and social care has been key to achieving progress in recent years, with Integration Authorities now responsible for nearly £9 billion of funding previously managed separately by Health Boards and Councils. We have established an Expert Support Group, made up of clinical and social care professionals, to work with those health and social care partnerships facing the most significant challenges and ensure sustainable progress can be achieved.”