Elf (elfbert) wrote in little_details,

Treatment in/discharge from UK hospital c1990

Setting: Southern England (non-specific) in a fictional large town. Early '90s - about '90-'92ish?

I have a character who was admitted to hospital by ambulance having been attacked in the street. I don't need specifics on most of his injuries, but he does receive a slash or stab wound to the lower abdomen - nothing too serious (I can be a bit hand-wavy). Whilst he's in hospital it's discovered that his chest infection (which he's been ignoring) is a reasonably severe case of pneumonia. And I have two questions:

The bit I'm stuck on is his discharge from hospital. I want him to be kept in for one night, then released. But I've never been in hospital overnight, and I don't really know how lots of bits work. I need to know what they'll do about giving him drugs (he's been prescribed painkillers and antibiotics for the pneumonia) when he leaves - obviously they could give him a prescription like when you go to the doctor, but is this what happens? Or do you actually get given drugs to take home, no need to go and fetch them from a pharmacy? Would it be usual to have a pharmacy in a reasonably sized hospital? Ideally I want him to have to go and fetch them and pay for them/give proof that he doesn't have to pay (which he doesn't have) as usual (because he won't). (Googling 'discharge from UK hospital' and similar doesn't give me specifics, just that it should be ensured patients have their medication...but I didn't know if that meant medication or prescription.)

Secondly, just to complicate matters, he's homeless. Can the hospital discharge him, knowing he has nowhere to go? I've Googled 'being discharged from uk hospital' and seen some information suggesting they can't unless they know he has somewhere to stay. So does that mean that there's someone at the hospital (some sort of social worker?) who would try to find him a place in a hostel, or some other emergency accommodation? I can only find more recent information, from Googling 'UK homelessness hospital discharge' and similar - which suggests it shouldn't happen, but does. He has absolutely nothing - just the clothes he stands up in, no money, no possessions. There's a news story about a man last winter being discharged wearing only pyjama trousers, with nothing else, so I guess it does still happen, but I'd like to know how they try to prevent it.

Any help on either of those questions gratefully received, thanks!
Tags: 1990-1999, uk: health care and hospitals, ~homelessness

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