ANOTHER 510 delayed discharge patients were moved out of hospitals into Scotland’s care homes in April, taking the total transferred during the outbreak to 1,431.

The data also revealed a huge transfer of the over-75s in recent months, with the number stuck in hospital falling from 1,108 in late February to 331 in Late April.

The Scottish Tories claimed the elderly had been “rushed out of hospital” as part of the drive to clear NHS beds in readiness for Covid cases.

The figures were released by NHS Scotland’s statistics division this morning. 

Coronavirus testing for would-be care home residents was not introduced until April 21.

The movements have been blamed for seeding Covid throughout Scotland’s network of 1000 care homes, and exposing elderly and vulnerable residents to the disease.

Almost half of all deaths registered in Scotland involving Covid have been in care homes.

Last week it emerged that 921 delayed discharge patients - those clinically well enough to leave hospital but with nowhere to go - were moved into homes in March without testing.

Nicola Sturgeon has defended the move, as at the time the NHS was anticipating a “tsunami” of Covid patients and needed to free up beds blocked by other patients.

However she has also conceded it may have cost lives.

In April, a further 510 delayed discharge patients were moved into homes.

This was the highest proportion of discharges into homes in several years, with 46 per cent of all delayed discharge patients going to a homes and only 54% going to their own home.

In most months, around 30% of delayed discharge patients go to a home, and 70% return to their own home.

However the data also suggests the number of people discharged to a home in April was broadly in line with previous months, with between 500 and 600 transfers being normal.

That suggests the 921 transfers in March was around 400 above trend.

Census point data, showing the number of delayed discharge patients on the last Thursday of the month, showed 1,108 over-75s in February but 331 in April, a drop of 70 per cent.

The fall was driven by transfers of those delayed due to a lack of health and social care - either in the community or in a home - with numbers down 904 to 203, a drop of 78 per cent.

It suggests care home places were found rapidly to accommodate this age group.

At the time, the Scottish Government was signing off the purchase of extra places in private care homes to clear hospital beds.

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: “These figures show very starkly how the over 75s were rushed out of hospital, either to care homes or back to the community.

“And as we now know, they weren’t routinely tested for coronavirus.

 “These were the most vulnerable people in our society, and they were sent out of hospital to places where they would mingle with equally vulnerable individuals.

“It’s no wonder Covid-19 has spread like wild fire in our care homes.

 “The SNP government now needs to explain why so many over 75s were chased out of hospital during a global health pandemic without proper testing or protection.

“The situation has become an issue of national disgrace for the SNP.”