Published: 27/06/2002, Volume II2, No. 5811 Page 8

The number of delayed discharges fell to 4,691 at the end of March, compared to nearly 6,000 in March 2001, health minister Jacqui Smith told the House of Commons health select committee last week.The government set a target of reducing the figure by 1,000 last October, tied to£300m extra money for local authorities to help tackle the problem.The number of people waiting more than 28 days to be discharged fell by 800 from September 2001.The total number of delayed discharges now has to be reduced by 20 per cent by March 2003.The Department of Health said there has also been a reduction in the length of time people are waiting to be discharged.The number of people waiting more than 28 days has fallen by 800 since September 2001.