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Home » Library » Discussion Papers » DP0703 Can we tell if government policies are working? Interpreting government data on delayed discharges from hospitals

Abstract: Reducing the number of patients whose discharge from hospital is delayed has been the focus of recent government policy. The 2003 Community Care (Delayed Discharges) Act was enacted to give NHS hospitals the option to charge social service departments (SSDs) a daily tariff for patients who continue to occupy a hospital bed after being passed medically fit for discharge, due to delays in the provision of social services. The introduction of this financial penalty was designed to act as an incentive for SSDs to invest in services to prevent unnecessary delays in the discharge of patients. The stipulations of the Act were introduced into the NHS in ‘shadow form’ in October 2003 and then came ‘live’ in January 2004.

Although many hospitals chose not to take up the option of charging SSDs, hospitals and SSDs were obliged to monitor the frequency and volume of delayed discharges and calculate the potential liability of all SSDs for delays in discharge. This paper examines the impact of this legislation and associated investments to:

Full paper (pdf): DP0703 Can we tell if government policies are working? Interpreting government data on delayed discharges from hospitals
Sylvia Godden, David McCoy and Allyson Pollock