Timely discharge is good for you – and for other patients

Date published: 30 October 2023

The Department of Health is reminding people of the importance of timely discharge from hospitals this winter.

Department of Health Latest News image white text on a departmental blue background
Department of Health Latest News image white text on a departmental blue background

Demand on hospital beds and the health and care service has been under pressure throughout the year. As we head into winter, our hospitals will inevitably see an increase in admissions.

The Health and Social Care system needs the active support of those who are in hospital and their families to ensure that when you are medically fit to leave hospital you do so.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We want to ensure that the very sick patients who attend our Emergency Departments this winter do not have a lengthy wait and are able to be admitted and treated quickly. This can only happen if hospital patients and their families work with our staff to support the discharge process for those patients who have received their treatment and are medically fit.  This will help us free up much needed beds for sick patients.

“This may mean accepting a temporary care home placement if a domiciliary care package is not immediately available or waiting at home, with family support until domiciliary care is sourced.

“It is important to remember that an extended stay in hospital for a patient who is well enough to leave isn’t good for the hospital and isn’t good for the patient.  Staying in hospital when medically fit to leave can lead to complications such as further infections, muscle loss, risk of falls, low mood and confusion.”

Health and social care staff will continue to do their best to provide hospital care to all those who need it.

Notes to editors: 

  1. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by e-mail pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk  
  2. Follow us on X @healthdpt(external link opens in a new window / tab) and linkedIn Department of Health NI | LinkedIn.
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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