Be blocking in Fife sorted in ‘one month’.

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NHS Fife and Fife Council have assured the public health minister that they will have dealt with the bed blocking crisis by the end of next month.

Delayed discharges — or bed blocking — refers to the situation when a patient is well enough to be released from hospital, but cannot be discharged due to a lack of a suitable care package.

Minister for Public Health and Sport, Shona Robison said: “The recent level of delayed discharges in Fife has not been good enough.

‘‘That is why I recently met with the chair of NHS Fife and the leader of Fife Council.

“They have both confirmed to me they are working closely together to resolve this problem and have contributed equally to a fund to address the situation immediately. Assurances have been given to me that patients currently delayed will all be discharged by the end of February and the partnership will return to the position of having ‘zero delays’ as soon as possible.”

Dave Stewart, chairman of the operational division of NHS Fife, welcomed the minister’s comments.

He said: “I expect to see an improvement in the situation over the coming weeks - in fact it has already started.

“It will be slow at first but it will gather momentum, and by the end of February we should be back in a near-normal situation.”

Last week NHS Fife put forward £250,000 to combat the problem, matched by Fife Council.

Mr Stewart added: “I’m very happy with the outcome. It’s good for the patients, and it’s good news for the staff.

‘‘Hopefully this situation will never arise again.”