An inpatient’s guide to consultant's length of stay and how you can use this information to inform discussions with your consultant.

What is length of stay?
What can length of stay tell you about a consultant?
Your checklist

What is length of stay?

Length of stay shows how long you might expect to stay in hospital for a treatment based on the patient experience from previous hospital admissions.

We show the range of how long previous patients have stayed in hospital for each elective procedure, from day case to 10+ days, as well as the average across all the sites that the consultants work at.

We only show length of stay based on privately funded patients. NHS funded patients may have different complexities and factors in their treatment compared to typical private patients. Basing this on the experience of private patients may give you a better indication if you are considering a hospital stay for private healthcare services. 

What can length of stay tell you about a consultant?

The first thing to check is whether your consultant has a length of stay score at all. Sometimes the lack of this information is because there are inaccuracies in the information supplied by the hospital. However, it may also be because the consultant has chosen not to publish this information. You should check with your consultant why this is not available, and question if you consultant has opted against publishing their data and why.

In the NHS a shorter length of stay is often seen as a sign of a quicker recovery. However, in private healthcare there are multiple reasons why people might have a longer length of stay.

If a consultant has a longer length of stay than others it could be because they treat more complex patients, it might mean that they treat patients who travel further and are keen to stay for their recovery, or it might be that they tend to admit people towards the end of the week, and generally people aren't discharged over the weekend.

While length of stay is not an ‘outcome measure’ and on its own cannot tell you about safety or quality, it can give you an indication of how long you are likely to stay in hospital following a procedure, and whether you are likely to stay longer with one consultant compared with another.

This may be an important decision making factor in your care choices. Some people want the reassurance and additional inpatient care of recovering in hospital, while others are keen to go home as soon as possible. If you are keen on a longer recovery in hospital, be aware that this may have a financial impact, so best to check with your insurer or the hospital on what this impact might be.

The length of stay information on our website cannot tell you the full story of how suitable a consultant may be for you as patient outcomes can vary. This information is best used during discussions with your consultant or GP, to understand how long you might be expected to stay and why, considering your individual case. It’s also important to be aware that the longer you stay in hospital following a treatment, the amount you pay is likely to be higher. 

Your checklist

  1. Check whether your consultant is showing their length of stay. If they aren’t, what does this say about the consultant’s dedication to patient choice, and what could this mean for your care?
  2. Understand your consultant’s length of stay. If your chosen consultant has a longer than average score, what is the reason for this?
  3. Ask questions. Use our information and the published numbers to ask your GP or consultant about your predicted length of stay and what complications could be involved. You need to be confident that they are the right consultant for you.

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