Statutory guidance

Hospital discharge and community support guidance

Sets out how health and care systems should support the safe and timely discharge of people who no longer need to stay in hospital.

Applies to England



Please read Infection prevention and control in adult social care settings and Infection prevention and control in adult social care: COVID-19 supplement for further information on discharging people who are likely to be infectious with COVID-19 from hospital to a care home.

This document sets out how health and care systems can ensure that people:

  • are discharged safely from hospital to the most appropriate place
  • continue to receive the care and support they need after they leave hospital

There is separate guidance for discharge from mental health hospitals.

Published 31 March 2022
Last updated 26 January 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'Hospital discharge and community support guidance' to reflect new duties introduced by the Health and Care Act 2022 for NHS bodies and local authorities and to provide additional detail on good practice in care transfer hubs.

  2. Added call-out box to the guidance (PDF and HTML attachment) to explain that Section 91 of the Health and Care Act comes into force on 1 July 2022, introducing a new duty for NHS trusts and foundation trusts to involve patients and carers (including young carers) in discharge planning.

  3. First published.