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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.


If you have been sectioned in hospital under the Mental Health Act, you have certain rights to get your section lifted, and get care and support after you leave. These rights are set out in the Mental Health Act.

The UK Government is changing the Mental Health Act.

Quick facts

Care planning

  • The planning of the care you will receive when you leave hospital should start while you are in hospital, in good time before your discharge.
  • In England, most people discharged from section will have their care planned under a system called the Care Planning Approach (CPA). In Wales, everyone discharged from section should have a Care Treatment Plan (CTP).
  • Before you leave hospital, a meeting will be organised so you can discuss what kind of care you need. This might include things like practical help around the home, help with finding accommodation, or facilities for day time activities.
  • The type of care you receive and the way that it is planned will depend upon a number of factors, including which section you have been detained on, what your needs are and whether you are in England or Wales.
  • If you are discharged from certain sections, you have the right to free aftercare under section 117 of the Mental Health Act. This can cover all kinds of things like healthcare, social care and supported accommodation.

If you are a voluntary or informal patient, the discharge process is different than for someone who is under a section or on a CTO. See our information on voluntary patients to find out more.

View this legal guide as a PDF (opens new window)

This information was published in July 2020.

This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published. 

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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