Question concerning hospital occupancy and discharge statistics: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

"1) Each day, there are a total number of total hospital discharges listed on the daily announcement. I have attached a spreadsheet with this data, dated back to the change in methodology for reporting hospital figures in September after audit (needless to say, I have the data back further than this)

As you can see there are a number of discharges reported each day but these never seem to be reflected in the total hospital figures? What is the reason for this? Is the data saying that more people have been admitted to hospital I.e the total hospital figure announced each day is minus the discharges already because the total hospital number never seems to be decreasing despite a very large number of discharges being reported (especially prevalent in the last couple of weeks where 504 people admitted and 435 discharged)."


The total number of recently confirmed COVID patients in hospital and ICU reported each day is defined as patients currently in hospital who first tested positive in hospital or in the 14 days before admission. Patients are also no longer included after 28 days in hospital (or 28 days after first testing positive if this is after admission).

The data shows a snapshot of:
(i) the total number of people in ICUs or combined ICU/ HDU across Scotland with recently confirmed COVID-19 (not the number of people admitted to ICU each day), as at 8am the previous day.

(ii) the total number of people in hospital across Scotland with recently confirmed COVID-19 (not the number of people admitted to hospital each day) as at 8am the previous day. This figure includes those in ICU. It does not include people with COVID-19 symptoms who have not yet tested positive. Only hospital inpatients are included, not those who may be in the Emergency Department. Patients in acute hospitals, and long stay community hospitals including mental health are included.

In relation to your example, 504 relates to the increase in hospital COVID patient occupancy (i.e. the number physically in the hospital with recently confirmed COVID-19) in the 2 weeks to 18 October, not the number of COVID related admissions during this time. (Note that following resubmission of data by one Health Board since your original request the increase in the published data is now 502 between 4 October and 18 October).

Public Health Scotland publishes the number of daily COVID admissions to hospital and ICU at the following link:!/vizhome/COVID-19DailyDashboard_15960160643010/Overview 

The number of admissions to hospital in the 2 weeks to 18 October was 1,229 at the time of responding to your query. you may wish to contact Public Health Scotland at who may be able to help you should you have any further queries around this data.

The discharge figure quoted each day is a cumulative figure for patients discharged who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 across Scotland. The discharges figure will not relate to the number in hospital on a given day or the admissions figures published by Public Health Scotland as the figure does not include deaths, transfers between hospitals and will include some cases of hospital onset COVID-19 who may still be in hospital for other reasons.

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