Guide to going into or leaving hospital

Guide to going into or leaving hospital

Going into hospital

You normally make your own way to hospital. If you do not have your own transport or need specialist care on the way to hospital, you might be eligible for a non-emergency ambulance.

This service is free for NHS patients, but you need to be referred by your doctor, dentist, midwife or other health professional. They will consider factors such as the availability of private or public transport, and the distance you need to travel.

Community transport

Community transport provides services where no public transport services are available, or public transport cannot accommodate some passengers, such as wheelchair users.

Although these are non-profit, most services will charge a small fee. Check with individual operators before travelling.

Also see: non-emergency patient transport service (NEPTS)

In hospital

Clinical staff may feel you have care and support needs as a result of the reason you are in hospital. If so, they will ask for your consent to refer you to our hospital social care team.

With your agreement, your social care worker will work with you and others to ensure your needs are met once you leave hospital.


A stay in hospital may affect any benefits you might claim.

  • The Disability Rights (UK) website, sets out your Benefits in hospital  (this webpage covers more than just disability-related benefits)

Advice services

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) provides confidential advice and support. They can:

  • listen to your concerns and suggestions about your care
  • give information on the NHS complaints procedure
  • help sort out problems on your behalf

Leaving hospital

Once your stay in hospital is over you will usually be discharged to go home.

  • If you cannot go home alone a hospital social worker can give you help and advice.
  • If you were receiving care and support services before being admitted, the nurse looking after you will arrange for these to be restarted once you return home.
  • If your care and support needs changed during your admission you will be referred back to Adult Social Care for a review of your needs.
  • If you were not receiving care and support services before your admission, but may need more help than before, your nurse will contact a hospital social worker to arrange an assessment of your needs.

There are a wide range of services that can be put in place if they meet your needs. Common services for those being discharged from hospital are reablement, rehabilitation and the district nurse service. If you have reablement goals these will be identified during your admission.

Reablement – regaining your daily living skills

Reablement is the word we use to describe the service that helps you to regain mobility and daily living skills after a hospital stay. If your assessment shows you have eligible needs, we will always consider reablement as a way to help you to live independently in your own home.


If you are in hospital but no longer need medical care, the staff there will refer you to us if you are unable to return home alone.

You will be admitted to one of our intermediate care units where occupational therapists and physiotherapists will assess you. They will work out a programme of activities to help you. Many people can return home after two weeks of care, often with some further home care support.

District nurse

District nurses provide healthcare to people in the community or at home. This could include administering medication, wound care, continence support, leg ulcer care and catheter management. You or your carer are still responsible for collecting any medication from your local pharmacy.

How much will it cost?

Our page on social care costs may give you an idea as to how much you might be asked to pay. It depends on your needs and financial situation.

Non-emergency patient transport service (NEPTS)

The non-emergency patient transport service (NEPTS) in East Sussex provides transport for treatment to people who cannot make the journey themselves due to a medical reason.

This service has eligibility criteria that need to be met in order to qualify. Find out if you are eligible from the leaflet below:

The service is provided by the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

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