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This report presents the results of a survey of capacity  1 in acute departments of psychiatry, that was carried out during one week in the autumn of 2002. All acute departments of psychiatry in Norway responded. This means that the results provide a picture of the relationship between the number of admitted patients and capacity for all in-patients in acute departments of psychiatry during the survey week.

The occupancy rate in the acute departments in the survey week was 98 per cent. This means that there was little free capacity to allow for situations requiring reallocation of beds or rooms. Some departments reported that patients had to be discharged too early, or had to be sent home temporarily in order to make room for other patients.

In the opinion of the Norwegian Board of Health, the occupancy rate in acute departments of psychiatry is too high in relation to the available capacity. The Norwegian Board of Health points out that all the relevant agencies must consider this problem, in order to improve the situation.

1     The survey described in the report investigated capacity in acute departments of psychiatry by measuring the total number of patients in the departments and the number of “patients ready to be discharged” in the survey week.

“Patients ready to be discharged” are patients who have finished their treatment, who could already have been discharged from hospital, but who are still in hospital because they are waiting to be offered a place, for example, in a district psychiatric centre or in sheltered accommodation.