HEALTH chiefs have issued an appeal to families to help move loved ones on from hospital after ‘bed-blocking’ hit a record high in the Borders.

Latest figures show that for the month of September there was a daily average of 88 patients ready to be discharged, but who could not due to a variety of reasons.

And in the last two years the average daily number of beds blocked due to delayed discharge has more than doubled.

In a video shared to NHS Borders’ Facebook page, Dr Lynn McCallum, medical director and a consultant at the health board, said: “As a doctor, I’m very aware of the potential dangers of people remaining in hospital beyond the time when they require ongoing health care.”

She added that staff in its Health and Social Care Partnership were “working very hard” to help people leave the hospital and move on to their next place of care in “as timely a manner as possible”.

The figures from Public Health Scotland, which cover July 2016 to September 2023, also show the lowest average daily number of blocked beds was 19 in April 2020.

In her appeal, Dr McCallum urged families and friends with loved ones in hospital to help the health board.

She added that such support could mean patients are moved to a place of care that is not “their first choice” but will be in a “safer setting than a hospital”.

In September the leading reason for delayed discharge in patients aged 18 and over was for “health and social care reasons”.

A spokesperson for NHS Borders said: “We continue to experience significant pressure throughout the health and social care system, in addition to an increase in demand for these services.

“This pressure has resulted in many people staying in hospital for long periods of time after they are medically fit to be discharged whilst they wait for care in the community.

“The social care sector has also been under pressure from a workforce perspective which has a knock-on effect on the capacity to care for people in the community; at home or in care home facilities.

“We are working with teams across the Health & Social Care Partnership and with our wider partners to resolve this issue.

“We have developed a surge plan as we head into winter which will focus on keeping people well in the community, improve discharge from hospital and includes a £1.9m additional investment into capacity for social care for older adults.

“As a result, we are now seeing a reduction in bed occupancy and delayed discharges, and expect this to continue.

“This will allow for more people to receive the right care in the right place.”