NHS staff have been praised for making huge inroads into the number of delayed discharges in Fife.
Andrew Rodger, Fife Council’s health and social care integration lead, revealed the number of patients waiting to be moved out of hospital was down from 143 in December to 36 in January.
But, he said, there was a need for NHS Fife to consider a reconfiguration of beds when it came to tackling the long-standing problem.
Mr Rodger thanked staff from both health and social care for their endeavours.
He said a winter plan was obviously working in which, he added: “to me is a great achievement”.
Fife Council Leader David Ross added: “I’m very pleased with the progress that has been made in addressing delayed discharge.
“We are more than meeting the commitments that were given to address this issue and it shows what we’ve said all along, that with a little extra funding, we could make a real difference here.
“There are still major issues with the funding for health and social care, and I understand that NHS Fife is still predicting a budget deficit, but this progress on tackling delayed discharge is good news.
“I commend all the staff who have been working hard to bring these numbers down.”
Mr Rodger said: “Any one in hospital is one too many, I understand that, but we are going in the right direction to bring these down.”
He cited models of care, like Hospital at Home, as measures to get people back in their own homes and communities.
But an area which needed to be addressed was the ratio of acute and community hospital beds.
“We are making a difference to people and getting better outcomes.”
But he added: “Quite clearly while we continue to free up space that’s getting used up again.
“We have got to make sure there are enough beds in acute hospital and when they do continue from hospital they are on the road to recovery.
“So I would hope if we look at a reconfiguration of hospital beds, both in community and acute hospitals, this will lead to better outcomes, especially for the elderly.”