It has been well-documented in recent news and social media discussions that hospital trusts across the UK are facing significant challenges with patient flow, leading to many thousands of people spending unnecessary days in hospital.
We know how much a bed day costs the NHS, and we also have significant national data, showing the number of people who are medically optimised and the number of those discharged each day. Prior to COVID-19 we also had data on the days lost due to delayed transfer of care, however publishing of this data unfortunately ceased during the pandemic. What isn’t readily available, is data to show us how many bed days could be saved on a local level through timely discharge, and the financial savings that this would lead to.
To help hospital CEOs generate these figures, CHS Healthcare has created a calculator tool that trusts can use to see the efficiencies and savings that they could make with better discharge planning and a dedicated resource to do so.
Our calculator tool is based on an average 12 day wait for medically optimised patients to be discharged; a figure that we have derived from CHS Healthcare’s recent survey of hospital workers and social care staff.
To use the tool takes approximately 20 seconds; NHS stakeholders simply input the number of patients in their hospital that no longer meet the criteria to reside, followed by their average time from patients becoming medically optimised to when they are actually discharged.
Based on simple multiplication, the calculator tool will output the number of bed days that could be saved, as well the financial saving attached to that figure (based on CHS Healthcare’s minimum KPI requirement of time from referral to discharge and an average of £400 per bed day)
We inputted the national NHS statistics for June; across the month, an average 21,148 patients resided in hospital each day, no longer meeting the criteria to reside and as our survey shows, it takes an average 12 days to discharge once the patient is medically optimised.
Using the calculator, we can estimate that 29,607 bed days would have been saved had 20% of these patients been referred to CHS Healthcare, with a financial saving of more than £11 million pounds.
We hope this insightful tool will enable NHS stakeholders to view a tangible representation of how many bed days could be saved by ensuring timely discharge, helping to inform strategy and planning, and ultimately positively affect patient flow throughout their trust.