Each hospital will have its own policy and arrangements for discharging patients.  Normally, when you arrive in hospital, the professionals in charge of your care will develop a plan for your treatment, including your discharge or transfer.  You will be able to discuss arrangements for your discharge with staff.  This will help to ensure that you have everything you need for a full recovery when you return home.

Your discharge or transfer date will be affected by how quickly your helath improves while you are in hospital and what support you will need after you return home.

During your stay in hospital you have the right to discharge yourself from hospital at any time.  When you leave hospital you will be given a letter for your GP, providing information about your treatment and future care needs.  Give this letter to your GP as soon as possible.

Minimal discharge

Most people who are discharged from hospital need only a small amount of care after they leave.  This is called 'minimal discharge'

Complex discharge

If you need more specialised care after you leave hospital, your discharge or transfer procedure is referred to as a 'complex discharge'.

For example, you may have ongoing health and social care needs, need community care services or intermediate care, or be discharged to a residential home or care home.

As well as hospital staff, your discharge or transfer may involve other healthcare professionals, such as your GP or a community nurse.  Organisations outside the NHS may also be involved.  For example, local authorities or independent and voluntary organisations.