Employing an extra social worker at a 600-bed acute hospital over three winter months (January to March 1997) and extending the opening hours of the medical assessment unit reduced delayed discharges.

The time from a patient being allocated to a social worker to community care being provided fell from 16.6 to 13.8 days.

The package of measures, which included employing a locum registrar in the medical assessment unit and extra nurses, released several hundred bed days. The project has been extended this