DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.401 ISSN:

894 Attitudes, Barriers and Difficulties to Discharge – a Qualitative Approach

A Lukaszewicz, S Linganathan
  • Surgery



It is well accepted that prompt and effective discharges are crucial in order to sustain patient continuity of care, patient flow and create bed space for patients. Systematic difficulties and the health professional staffing crisis may create further barriers to satisfying the above statement. Thus, the authors have investigated the titled characteristics with a view to instigating beneficial changes.


A curated questionnaire was designed and emailed to all health care professionals who worked within the general surgical department at the authors’ trust who completed discharge summaries. A total of 26 respondents completed the survey.


The main obstacle in completing discharges was lack of patient knowledge (40% of respondents) followed by time pressure (28% of respondents). In addition, each discharge usually took 11 minutes or more. Discharge priority is deemed to be of variable importance, with 52% ranking it as moderate priority and 24% deeming it to be high priority. Multiple symbiotic factors were thought to be important in improving the discharge process. However, the single key factor was dedicated protected time to complete discharge paperwork (17.39% of respondents). 60% of respondents ideally favoured a typed discharge summary with 28% preferring dictation despite a lack of knowledge and understanding of the available resources.


This work has offered a valuable insight into the attitudes, barriers and difficulties surrounding discharges with scope to instigate improvements, such as the use of dictation software, protected time and subsequent possible policy changes.

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