THE amount of council tax cash being paid to hospitals in fines has drastically reduced, new figures have revealed.

If a patient cannot leave hospital because a local authority has not arranged the necessary care, the authority must pay the hospital a £100-per-day fine.

Up until April, 2011, Bury was among the worst-performing authorities in the North West — now it is the best-performing.

In 2006-7, Bury Council paid £2,400 in fines and this rose to £2,600 the following year and £4,500 in 2008/9.

In 2010-11, the fines totalled £29,300 and the council acknowledged there was a problem. In 2012, it introduced a new “reablement service” to help people remain independent in their own home.

Figures obtained by the Bury Times and Radcliffe Times under the Freedom of Information Act show the fine was £14,700 in 2011/12, £6,600 in 2012/13 and £7,600 for 2013/14.

A Bury council spokesman said: “We have worked hard with our partners in health to improve the way patients are supported in their discharge.

"As a result, the number of delays has reduced. We are proud of our performance in Bury in that we have been at the top of the performance league tables across the North West on delayed discharges for the past two years.

"Our work with our partners will enable us to sustain this good performance.”