Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral has apologised to the partner of a terminally ill man who disappeared when she says he was confused and on morphine.
Shirley Ward claims it was two hours before managers realised cancer patient Andy Howard had gone missing.
She says that by that time he had made his own way home, five miles away, and was still dressed in his hospital clothes and attached to medical equipment.
The hospital says Mr Howard was competent and fit for discharge.
The full statement from Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:
The hospital has apologised for any distress or inconvenience, but Shirley says she is disgusted.