A randomised controlled trial has been conducted into the effects of discharging patients from hospital either 48 hours or six to seven days after operations for inguinal hernia and varicose veins. There was no statistically significant difference in major postoperative complications between the two lengths of stay for either of the two conditions. Similarly there was no difference between the two groups of hernia patients in relation to eventual recurrences. There was no significant difference in length of convalescence between long-stay and short-stay patients in full-time occupations. The savings to the statutory services of discharging patients early were estimated at 25.72 pounds per patient. Patients appeared to approve of the type of care they experienced, regardless of length of stay. However, the families of short-stay patients were significantly less enthusiastic in their attitudes towards the policy of early discharge than the families of long-stay patients.
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