NHS: Delayed Hospital Discharges May Be Linked To Increase in Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Mark A Green 
BA (Hons), MSc, PhD, AFHEA
Lecturer in Health Geography
University of Liverpool

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Between Dec 2013 and Dec 2015 there was an increase of 41% in the number of acute patients delayed being discharged from hospital. If we compare the previous year of data –Dec 2012- Dec 2014 – there was only a 10% increase. 2015 saw one of the largest annual spikes in mortality rates for almost 50 years – we wanted to explore if there was any correlation between these two trends.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: There is a positive association with trends in delayed discharges of acute patients in hospital and mortality trends for England. The result appears plausible – delayed discharges might delay the treatment for new patients requiring urgent care. Since we found the evidence for acute patients and not in non-acute patients – these are patients who require urgent medical attention. Being delayed discharged may also introduce stress and anxiety to patients as well which may harm their health.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our results present interesting correlations using timely data – as more data become available we will be able to systematically pick apart the impact of such increases in delayed discharges. We investigate population-level trends as opposed to individual-level patterns and examining the impact on individuals following delays (and those who could not access a bed) is important to corroborate our findings.

No disclosures 


Green MA, Dorling D, Minton J, et al

Could the rise in mortality rates since 2015 be explained by changes in the number of delayed discharges of NHS patients?

J Epidemiol Community Health Published Online First: 02 October 2017. doi: 10.1136/jech-2017-209403


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Last Updated on October 7, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD