Leaving hospital

Explains the rights you have to get your section lifted if you are being detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act, and your rights to care and support after leaving hospital. Applies to England and Wales.

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Frequently asked questions about discharge

What can I do if I am not being involved in my discharge planning?

Both the English and Welsh Mental Health Act Codes of Practice say that you should be given the opportunity to be involved in the planning, developing and reviewing of your care and to participate in decision-making as far as you are capable of doing so.

If you feel that you are not being involved in your discharge planning you can:

  • talk to an IMHA who can speak on your behalf
  • speak to a mental health solicitor. Your hospital should be able to give you details of local solicitors. You can also see Useful contacts for information on how to contact a solicitor.

What can I do if my discharge is being delayed?

If your discharge is being delayed, this could be for a number of reasons. For example:

  • there may be delays in arranging the care you will receive when leaving hospital, or
  • there may be a dispute about which local authority will be paying for your care

If the criteria for keeping you in hospital under the Mental Health Act are no longer met but you are still being detained in hospital, this may be unlawful. A mental health solicitor can help you in this situation. See Useful contacts for details on how to contact a solicitor.

What can I do if I am due to be discharged but I do not feel ready to leave hospital?

If you want to stay in hospital after you are discharged from your section, you should discuss this with your responsible clinician as early as you can before your tribunal or managers’ meeting, even if you are not sure you are going to be discharged from section.

Your responsible clinician will decide, and may possibly consult other professionals involved in your care whether there are good medical reasons for you to stay in hospital an informal patient, and whether this will help you to get the care and treatment you need.

However, you may be discharged back into the community, either without being under a section, or on a CTO, as long as suitable after hospital care or support will be available to you there.

You may be:

  • asked to attend as an outpatient to receive medical treatment or to monitor your mental health, or
  • discharged into some other type of accommodation, such as supported living

These arrangements should be discussed with you before you leave hospital, so you will know what to expect when you leave.


This information was published in August 2018. We will revise it in 2020.

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