A 91-year-old patient was left in hospital for two weeks while authorities sorted out her care.
Elizabeth Henderson was released from Kettering General Hospital earlier this month more than a fortnight after being told she could go home.
She had to wait while county council officials found her a place in a care home.
Mrs Henderson, a mayoress of Wellingborough in the 1980s and an Alzheimer’s sufferer, had fallen at her house.
Her son Brian said the unnecessary extra time in hospital had delayed her recovery.
“If you’re old and haven’t got anybody to shout for you, you’re left on a shelf,” he said.
“I was told on August 29 there was medically nothing to stop her leaving but she couldn’t go back home, so everything else had to be put in place.
“They said it would take four to six weeks, but I wasn’t willing to wait, so I kept shouting. I am quite willing to say the system is diabolical.
“She is much better now she’s in a home, chatting to everybody, whereas in hospital she sat there.”
A county council spokesman said they would be learning lessons from the case to ensure vulnerable patients did not remain in hospital for any longer than is required.
The hospital says it has more than 50 beds occupied by patients who are able to be discharged from hospital but cannot until additional care is in place for them.