New guidance has recently been published by the NHS to help safely discharge patients into the appropriate setting as services start up again.

The document sets out the Hospital Discharge Service operating model for all NHS trusts, community interest companies, private care providers of NHS-commissioned acute, community beds, community health services and social care staff in England.

It replaces the Hospital Discharge Service Requirements initially set out in March 2020 at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new Hospital Discharge Policy significantly includes the following statement on mental capacity (p.13):

“If there is a reason to believe a person may lack the relevant mental capacity to make the decisions about their ongoing care and treatment, a capacity assessment should be carried out before decision about their discharge is made. Where the person is assessed to lack the relevant mental capacity and a decision needs to be made, then there should be a best interest decision made for their ongoing care in line with the usual processes. If the proposed arrangements amount to a deprivation of liberty, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in care homes and orders from the Court of Protection for community arrangements still apply. Further information can be found within DHSC’s guidance on this specific area.”

The full Hospital Discharge Policy can be found here.

Should you, your relative or friend need any support from our specialist mental health team then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01282 422711 or email mental.health@southernslaw.co.uk