Toggle menu

Leaving hospital

What's meant by minimal or complex discharge?

If the discharge assessment shows you'll need little or no care, it's called a minimal discharge.

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

If you need this type of care, you'll receive a care plan detailing your health and social care needs.

You should be fully involved in this process.

A care plan should include details of:

  • the treatment and support you'll get when discharged
  • who will be responsible for providing support and how to contact them
  • when and how often support will be provided
  • how the support will be monitored and reviewed
  • the name of the person co-ordinating the care plan
  • who to contact if there's an emergency or things do not work as they should
  • information about any charges that will need to be paid (if applicable)

Find out more about care and support plans

You'll also 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.


If you're given any medication to take home, you'll usually be given enough for the following 7 days. The letter to your GP will include information about your medication.

If you need to keep taking your medication, make sure you arrange to get a repeat prescription from your GP before your hospital supply runs out.

Some surgeries require up to 2 working days (48 hours) notice for repeat prescriptions.

If you're registered for patient online services with your GP, you could order your repeat prescription through the NHS website. Simply look up the GP practice using find services.

Find out more about GP online services

Your local pharmacy can help you get on top of your new medicines.

Medical devices

If you're sent home with a medical device, make sure you know how to set it up and have been taught how to use it.

Also, make sure you know where to get any supplies you need to use the device and who to call if you need help.

Organising transport

If you're being discharged, arrange for a relative or friend to collect you, or let the staff know if they need to make other transport arrangements for you.

Returning home

If you're returning home, make sure you have everything you need for your recovery.

It may be helpful to ask a friend or relative to stay with you or visit regularly.

If this is not possible, make sure you have plenty of food, drink and other essentials at home.

Sick notes

You may need a sick note or information for insurance companies or your employer.

Speak to the nurse in charge of your ward if you need a form to be completed.

Find out when you may need a fit note


Do not forget to:

  • provide a forwarding address for any post
  • collect your hospital discharge letter for your GP or arrange to have it sent directly to them
  • ensure you have the medication you need
  • get a copy of your care plan (if applicable) - if you're being discharged to a care home, the home should be told the date and time of your discharge, and have a copy of the care plan
  • arrange your follow-up appointment, if you need one
  • ask for any medical certificates you may need
This page is based on content that originated from the NHS (adapted).

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email