Medical Day Therapy Unit

A medical day therapy unit provides an ambulatory care service within an acute hospital setting. The main benefits are that patients receive investigations and treatment appropriate to their condition without the need for overnight admission to an inpatient bed. This allows care to be delivered appropriately and to consistent standards. Medical day therapy units can be used to treat patients requiring diagnostic support, specific procedures or treatments, and for patients who visit frequently for certain therapies, such as chemotherapy.

Expected benefits

For patients: Improving the patient experience; promoting right care, right place, right time.

For staff: Ability to provide appropriate care in suitable setting ; improved consistency of work processes.

For the hospital: Reducing the volume of inpatient admissions therefore improving patient flow; Increasingly efficient and effective patient care; better use of resources.


Applicable to all facilities

Key principles

  • Opening hours 8-14 hours, generally Monday-Friday
  • Some units have maximum length of stay guidelines
  • Requires set admission criteria and booking procedures
  • Patients must meet admission criteria for booking to be accepted
  • Requires senior medical staff support and access to multidisciplinary team
  • Clinical governance of patients whilst in MDTU generally remains with referring team
  • Usually a MDTU has an assigned Registrar or Resident to attend to treatment, orders, and procedures.


  • Decrease unnecessary overnight admissions
  • Dissolving traditional care boundaries
  • Promote a 'wellness model' e.g. patients can receive treatment in armchairs
  • Provide appropriate treatment in the right place, first time
  • More effective patient access management

Performance indicators

  • % of same-day patients
  • Monitor unplanned readmission rates
  • LOS data
  • Quality indicators - Patient and staff satisfaction, adverse events, complaints, staff turnover

Also known as

Can also be known as Medical Day Procedure Unit, Day Unit Investigation and Therapy (DUIT), Day Procedure Unit (DPU), Internal Medicine Day Treatment Unit (IMDTU).

Last updated: 27 July 2017