BED-blocking is a terribly impersonal word for a problem which has a huge impact on people’s lives.
It is frustrating for the thousands of patients who are forced to stay in Lothian hospitals when they are fit enough to leave.
It is bad for other patients who have to be cared for on wards which do not best suit their needs because the ones they should be on are full.
And it only adds to the strain on under-pressure doctors and nurses who are forced to search for patients who are not where they would expect to find them.
The problem is particularly acute in the Lothians – and Edinburgh especially – where the equivalent of nine 30-bed wards are filled at any one time with patients who should not be there.
There are reasons why the Capital has the biggest problem of this kind in Scotland.
Care homes were sold at an alarming rate during the height of the property boom to be converted into flats.
We are still playing catch-up today in our efforts to replace them in order to meet the growing demand for care home places from our ageing population.
The Scottish Government is quite rightly ending the nonsensical split between health and social care which has for years hampered efforts to tackle this problem.
But it must also find funds to provide more care at home and in the community in the Capital so that those who can look after themselves with a little support are able to do so.
This is one area where spending money wisely now will save funds in the long term.
It makes perfect sense to charge those who deliberately damage their council homes with the cost of repair.
In fact, most readers will be surprised to find that this doesn’t happen already, and even more surprised to learn that taxpayers are instead having to fork out up to £600,000 every year.
Hopefully the initiative launched today by the city council will go some way to bringing down the bill and this money can then be better spent elsewhere.
Many tenants across the city who look after their homes would no doubt welcome some of this cash for long-awaited improvements to their properties.
Edinburgh badly needs good-quality social housing, we can’t afford to waste our limited resources on clearing up after the irresponsible few.