BED-BLOCKING in Scotland's hospitals has fallen by 10 per cent in a year.

A total of 1332 people medically well enough to leave hospital had their discharge delayed while care was arranged, according to a census taken in January, down 10 per cent from 1482 from January 2017.

Of these, a majority – 1,022 – were delayed for more than three days.

The most common reason for these delays were health and social care reasons (764), followed by people having complex needs (233) and patient and family reasons (25).

Delays have increased by 13 per cent in a month from 1182 patients affected in December 2017.

Patients spent 38,700 days in hospital due to delayed discharge, also known as bed blocking, in January 2018, down 12 per cent on the previous year.

The average number of beds blocked per day in January was 1248, down from a daily average of 1305 the previous month, a drop of 13 per cent.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "Bed days lost as a result of delay have continued to fall and the average number of beds occupied are all significantly lower than the same period last year.

"This performance is a testament to hardworking NHS and care staff who have achieved this improvement despite the additional pressures that an exceptionally busy winter brought.

"I expect boards to keep working hard to sustain this progress, ensuring no patient spends unnecessary time in hospital and are discharged as soon as it is safe and appropriate."