DELAYED hospital discharge figures throughout the Lothians have soared by 80 per cent in 12 months.

New statistics have shown a significant increase in the number of bed days being lost due to patients not being able to leave the region’s hospitals.

In November 2020, the number of bed days lost was 4,768, but that figure rose to 8,572 a year later in November 2021.

Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP, described the figures as “eye-watering” but a spokesperson for the Scottish Government highlighted the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the country’s health system.

The Conservative MSP has challenged Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s Health Secretary, to solve the problem.

Mr Hoy accused the Scottish Government of having “completely failed to honour their promise on delayed discharge” and called for a plan to be outlined to address the issue.

He said: “That was made almost seven years ago, yet there is a deeply concerning rise in the number of bed days being lost in NHS Lothian due to this practice continuing.

“The costs of delayed discharge for NHS Lothian are threatening to spiral out of control, but we still see no strategy from the SNP to solve it.

“Our hospitals are under strain as a result of being unable to let patients return home and the SNP haven’t provided social care services with the required resources.

“And instead of putting in place robust measures that will allow beds to be freed and patients to return safely to their own communities, local health services in East Lothian, such as North Berwick’s Edington Cottage Hospital, are being closed at a time where East Lothian’s population is growing and these services are needed now more than ever before.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government noted that millions of pounds were being put into tackling various concerns.

He said: “We remain in the midst of a global pandemic and Scotland’s NHS is under more pressure than at any previous stage.

“Recent months have seen extreme pressures across the whole health and social care system, and this has seen more people coming through hospitals who need high levels of care and support to go home.

“We have announced significant additional funding to address this, including £6 million to enhance care at home, £48 million to increase the hourly rate of pay, £40 million to support interim care arrangements and £20 million to enhance multi-disciplinary teams.

“We have also recently launched our ‘discharge without delay’ programme, backed by £5 million, to help local health and social care partnerships improve discharge planning arrangements.

“We are also investing £500,000 to establish the new Covid Remote Monitoring Pathways that will support the public to stay safely at home.

“This funding will allow us to procure 25,000 remote monitoring kits to enable this new pathway and establish a dedic- ated team to support this.”