New figures have shown the number of adult mental health delayed discharges for NHS Grampian were almost double the national average.
The statistics, published by ISD Scotland, show the most recent figures for the region in comparison to the rest of Scotland, and cover the 2016/17 financial year.
NHS Grampian recorded 2.125 delayed discharges per 100,000 population, the second-highest number recorded in health boards across Scotland.
It was beaten only by NHS Western Isles, which had 3.717 per 100,000 population.
The national average in Scotland was 1.226, compared to 1.659 per 100,000 people in 2015/16 in the north-east.
Delayed discharges can occur for a number of reasons, but is defined as a person who is clinically ready for discharge from the hospital, but cannot leave due to not having the necessary care, support or accommodation in place.
North East region Scottish Conservative MSP Tom Mason said: “It’s likely that many of the people who stay in hospitals are keenly waiting for suitable arrangements to be made in the community.
“But the gulf between the north-east and most of Scotland in these new statistics is alarming.”
Similar figures for general delayed discharges were also published by ISD Scotland.
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In NHS Grampian in November 2018, there were 3,536 bed days recorded in the area, with 84% of those for health and social care or patient and family-related reasons. And 16% were for code nine – when the discharge of the patient is out of the control of NHS bosses, such as the patient going through a guardianship process or waiting for a specialist facility.
It compares to 3,768 recorded for the same month in 2017.
Across Scotland, 43,918 days were taken up by people unable to leave hospital, known as “bed blocking”.
An NHS Grampian spokesman said: “Delayed discharge is frustrating for the patient, their relatives and our clinical teams.
“These are patients medically fit to leave hospital but are unable to do so. This may be because they are awaiting a care home place, adjustments to their own home or individual family circumstances.
“All three of the Health & Social Care Partnerships in the north-east areas have action plans in place to deal with short, medium and long-term approaches to delayed discharge.”