Guide to reducing long hospital stays


Our ‘how-to’ guide offers practical steps and tactics to support the NHS and partners to use an optimal approach to managing hospital length of stay.

Nearly 350,000 patients currently spend over three weeks in acute hospitals each year. Many are older people with reduced functional ability (frailty) or cognitive impairment. The benefits of reducing hospital bed occupancy are clear, but achieving it has proven difficult, particularly during winter.

Our guide goes beyond principles and suggests more concrete tactics to reduce unnecessarily long stays in hospital for patients. 

Guide to reducing long hospital stays PDF, 767.9 KB

This guide has been written to make the ‘difficult’ easier and details practical steps to implement approaches to reduce length of stay. It is primarily aimed at acute and community trusts, but also makes reference to how system partners can play a supporting role.

Video: national priorities for urgent and emergency care with a focus on reducing long stays

This half hour October 2018 webinar includes insights into:

  • understanding why reducing the number of people with long lengths of stay is important to patients, their loved ones and the system
  • understanding the balance of risks and what is ‘safe’
  • understanding what needs to happen to reduce long length of stay patients particularly a focus on that which is in control of the acute trust, so internal rather than focussing on external constraints
  • keeping the approach simple

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