New figures have shown that Aberdeen is lagging badly behind other council areas in Grampian in addressing problems with bed blocking in hospitals.
The statistics relate to the amount of time that patients are having to wait in wards – despite being fit to leave – because care packages provided by the local authority are not in place.
The rate of bed days in Aberdeen for those over the age of 75 is more than double that in neighbouring Aberdeenshire and Moray.
The IDS Scotland findings showed that the national average is approximately 1,000 bed days per 1,000 population.
Both Aberdeenshire and Moray are below the median level for Scottish council areas, but the rate in Aberdeen is the second highest in the country, more than 2,100 bed days per 1,000 population.
All three council areas are covered by the local health board, NHS Grampian, which said its position across north-east local authority boundaries was the same.
Callum McCaig, group leader for the SNP in Aberdeen, said “the blame lies squarely” with the city council leadership.
He said: “Their failure to address what has been a growing crisis in terms of bed blocking for over a year now.
“The approach was to bury their heads in the sand because of the economic conditions in the north-east of Scotland, but if these problems are not being replicated in Aberdeenshire, it seems we have a unique inability in Aberdeen to meet the needs of patients coming out of hospital.”
Labour group secretary Willie Young said: “Aberdeen City Council and NHS Grampian are the lowest funded councils and NHS boards in Scotland. There is a direct correlation between being adequately funded and providing a service for patients and citizens.
“Aberdeen City Council has invested heavily in introducing a facility at Clashieknowe in the Bridge of Don to help the city with bed blocking, however the only way in which we will be able to deliver jointly with NHS Grampian is if the Scottish Government provide both the council and NHS Grampian with fairer funding.”
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart suggested the problem could be “directly related” to the council’s decision to set up an arms-length company to deliver elderly care services.
The launch of Bon Accord Care last year was a first in Scotland and proved controversial, but has been hailed by supporters as a way of improving services at a time of shrinking public sector budgets.