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Abstract: Situation Reports (SitReps) is an internal Department of Health performance data collecting system. Although intended primarily for internal use, the data are also used to answer parliamentary questions, brief ministers and to inform national performance indicators. This paper reviews the data collection system and data-set, and shows how it can be used to evaluate delays in hospital discharge under the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Act 2003. However, limitations in the data include the fact that the data have only recently been extended to National Health Service (NHS) non-acute settings and do not include NHS patients in the private acute sector. Further, as the data-set derives from a weekly aggregate return rather than from individualized person-based records, it cannot be used to evaluate length of delay, or to link to other relevant data such as emergency readmissions. The provision of individualized data to facilitate linkage and extending coverage would increase its potential future use. Categories of delay should be further refined to facilitate monitoring of delays due to disputes about eligibility.

Godden S., McCoy D., Pollock AM.,(2008) ‘Using SitReps performance data to monitor the delayed discharge process’, Health Services Management Research, 21:155-160