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 

Citation:

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

http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2017/09/01/jech-2017-209403

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