PERFORMANCE: The north London hospital trust was asked, like every other acute trust, to assess the number of discharges at night, in light of a report in The Times.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh asked organisations to review their practice. A recent report from trust chief executive Mark Easton on the subject found that what looked like a large number of patients discharged between 11pm and 6am was in fact down to the coding.

The results for BCF said three per cent of all discharges were between these hours.

Mr Easton’s report to his May board meeting said: “The time recorded is usually the time the patient’s discharge was put on the system, and not the actual time of discharge, meaning that the majority of the figures relate to discharges taking place earlier in the day.

“It is the trust’s strong view, that the actual number of discharges taking place between 11pm and 6am is much lower.”

Mr Easton told the board the trust had reviewed all complaints over the past two years relating to “‘admission, discharges and transfer arrangements” and found none citing night-time discharge as the issue.

The trust’s policy is not to discharge any frail, elderly or vulnerable patient after 9pm and that “discharges outside the hours of 9-5 and during holiday periods for vulnerable patients requiring community support are only appropriate if planned well in advance and agreed by all parties involved”.

The organisation is nonetheless considering an audit to “accurately assess discharges out of hours and the reasons for them”.