A ‘delayed discharge’ is a hospital inpatient who has been judged clinically ready for discharge by the responsible clinician in consultation with all agencies involved in planning the patient’s discharge and who continues to occupy a bed beyond the ready for discharge date. It is very important that, while the clinician in charge has ultimate responsibility for the decision to discharge, the decision must be made as part of a multi-disciplinary process and focuses on the needs of the individual patient. These patients are clinically ready to move on to a more appropriate care setting either within or out with the NHS, for example patient’s home, care home.
The information presented in these web pages includes:
- Quarterly census results for delayed discharge patients delayed on the census day
- Number of bed days occupied by delayed discharge patients (published for the first time in August 2012)
Information from all census periods can be found under Delayed Discharge Publications.
Please note that there was a change in recording practice from the July 2012 census onwards which means that it is not always possible to make comparisons with figures from previous census periods. Any potential impact resulting from the changes is highlighted in the relevant tables and is outlined in more detail under Guidelines.
National Targets Associated with Delayed Discharges
Until recently, the national target was that no patient should be delayed in hospital for longer than 6 weeks from when they were clinically ready for discharge, This target was first met in April 2008 and continues to be the national ‘standard’ which is applied to delays.
In October 2011, two new targets were announced by the Scottish Government. These stated that by April 2013, no patient should wait more than 4 weeks from when they are clinically ready for discharge and subsequently by April 2015 no patient should wait more than 2 weeks until discharge.
Further information and guidance on the delayed discharge census can be found under Guidelines.
Related Health and Social Care Information
ISD publish other information that help measure the shift in the balance of care to ensure that older people are cared for in their own homes or in a homely setting in the community, wherever possible. The Scottish Care Home Census publication looks at the provision of care home places throughout Scotland and for individual local authorities. Trend data is available from March 2000. Link to the Scottish Care Home Census web pages.
The NHS Continuing Care Census identifies all patients who were receiving NHS Care on the census date. NHS Continuing Care is defined as on-going, non-acute care, delivered as an inpatient, and often over an extended period, either in hospital, hospice or care home. In addition to supporting the need for information about shifting the balance of long term care for older people, this data is also used to inform on the application of the NHS Continuing Health Care guidance. Link to the NHS Continuing Care web pages.
The Scottish Government publish other information relating to Delayed Discharges and service provision for older people. Link to the Scottish Government Health and Community Care Statistics.
Further information on delayed discharges can also be found at the Joint Improvement team website.