Just two years ago the number of delayed discharges from NHS Grampian Hospitals was virtually zero.
But now the bed blocking crisis in the health board area is the worst in Scotland.
The most recent monthly figures available show 135 people waited to be discharged from hospitals in the north-east for more than 14 days after their treatment finished because no local authority care was available to them.
A Nationalist councillor is now demanding an urgent investigation – despite a Scottish Government announced it was pledge to invest £9.1million over the next three years to help NHS Grampian to tackle the issue.
Jim Kiddie, a former convener of the social care committee at Aberdeen City Council, said he was “absolutely alarmed” at dramatic deterioration in the situation.
Low levels of carer recruitment in the north-east has been cited as one of major contributory factors.
Councillor Kiddie said delayed discharges had successfully been driven down between 2009 and 2012 due to hard work between the local authority and the health board.
He said: “Given that we had delayed discharge down to virtually zero for almost three years, I find these figures extremely alarming.
“There needs to be a detailed investigation into the reasons behind this.
“We are talking about 135 people in one month who should not be there. These are people’s lives that we are talking about.
“Serious questions need to be asked of Aberdeen City Council and of NHS Grampian over this issue.”
A government move to integrate health and social care from April is expected to improve the situation.
About 6,200 hours of care are provided every week by Bon Accord Care – the council’s arm’s length company.
But that is only a quarter of the total demand in the city, with the rest being met by private firms.
Aberdeen City Council finance convener Willie Young said work was ongoing to deal with the root cause of delayed discharges.
He said: “From Aberdeen City Council’s point of view, we are only as good as NHS Grampian on this front and they are only as good as us.
“We have almost been working against each other.
“We have been doing what we thought was right but because they have had all sorts of other problems, their focus has been on other things, such as acute care”
He said the integration of health and social care would present a fresh opportunity to tackle the issue.
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said the board was waiting on further guidance on the new funding to tackle delayed discharge.
The money will be split between the three local authorities who link to NHS Grampian, with Moray to be allocated £1.59million, Aberdeenshire £3.78million and Aberdeen £3.75million.
She said: “We await further information and guidance on the use of this funding and look forward to continuing discussions with our local authority colleagues about patients whose discharge is delayed.”