Joshua Cole.

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Mental health act

A 'User Friendly Guide'

For a more detailed guide, contact the Mental Health Act Commission, Maid Marlan, 56 Hounds Gate, Nottingham, NG1 6BG.

Recent figures suggest that 95% of persons in receipt of treatment for a mental health problem whilst in hospital are ‘informal' receivers of care and treatment. The remaining 5% of persons receiving treatment in hospital are compulsory detained and are known as ‘formal' patients.

There are six categories, listed below, for which the Mental Health Act can be used to treat and care for somebody in hospital.

Definitions

Mental Disorder means mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder and any other disorder or disability of mind.

Severe mental impairment means a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind, which includes severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning and is associated with abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct.

Mental impairment means a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind (not amounting to severe mental impairment), which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning and is associated with abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct.

Psychopathic disorder means a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including significant impairment of intelligence), which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct.

Mental illness is undefined, and its operational definition and usage is a matter of clinical judgement. Medical treatment includes nursing care, habilitation and rehabilitation under medical supervision.



Section 136

  

How long does it last?

72 hours

Who can issue a section 136?

A Police Officer

What is the reason?

When a Police Officer attends a person in a public place who appears to be suffering from mental health problems and is needing immediate care and a place of safety e.g. a police station, psychiatric hospital or other safe accommodation.

 

Section 2

 

How long does it last?

This is a 28 day section.

What is the reason?

The reason for this section is: A patient suffers from a mental health problem, which warrants a period of assessment in the interests of their own health and safety or for the protection of other persons.

Who can issue a section 2?

An Approved Social Worker (ASW) or the nearest relative. Whoever is the person applying for the section; they must have seen the patient within the last 14 days.

Medical say so:

The application must be backed by two registered medical practitioners – usually a Psychiatrist who knows the patient and preferably the patients own GP. One of the two must be registered as a Section 12 Doctor (having special experience in psychiatry)

Discharge Procedure:

Either by the Psychiatrist, a mental health review tribunal, three members of the hospital's management and rarely the nearest relative. The patient can apply to a tribunal in the first 14 days of admission

 

Section 3

  

How long does it last?

6 months, may be extended for another 6 months and then annually (one year at a time)
What is the reason?

A mental health problem that is of such a nature or degree that it is appropriate for it to be treated in hospital. Also, if treatment can be used to alleviate and prevent deterioration of the problem. Can be used for the protection of the person or of other persons.

Who can issue a section 3?

An Approved Social Worker (ASW) or the nearest relative. Whoever is the person applying for the section; they must have seen the patient within the last 14 days.

Medical say so.

Same as Section 2 except that both certificates by the medical practitioners must contain one diagnosis/symptom in common.

Discharge Procedure

Mostly the same as Section 2. Patient can apply to a tribunal once during the first 6 months of admission, once during the second six months and once again during each subsequent year if no application made after six months, the care will automatically be referred to a tribunal. Section 3 can also be used to detain a person who is deemed unable to care for himself, obtain the care he needs or to prevent exploitation.

 

Section 4

  

How long does it last?

72 hours

What is the reason?

If the compliance with the normal procedure of Sections 2 & 3 would cause undesirable delay and increase suffering and risk.

Who can issue a section 4?

An Approved Social Worker (ASW) or the nearest relative. The person applying for the section must have seen the patient within the last 14 days.

Medical say so

One Doctor must determine that it is of utter urgency for the patient to be admitted under Section 2 and waiting for another Doctor to confirm the need for Section 2 would cause undesirable delay and increase suffering and/or risk. Patient must be admitted within 24 hours of request for detention or medical examination. The Doctor must have seen the person within the last 24 hours.

 

Section 37

  

How long does it last?

6 months can be increased to another 6 months and then a year at a time.

What is the reason?

The Crown Court and Magistrates Court can order hospital admission in respect of any person who has been convicted of an offence that would normally be a prison sentence.

Medical say so:

Same as Section 2 except that both certificates by the medical practitioners must contain one diagnosis/symptom in common.

Discharge procedure:

Mainly the same as in Section 2. Patient can apply to a tribunal once during the first 6 months of admission, once during the second six months and once again during each subsequent year if no application made after six months, the care will automatically be referred to a tribunal. Section 3 can also be used to detain a person who is deemed unable to care for himself, obtain the care he needs or to prevent exploitation. The nearest relative cannot request discharge from the hospital.

 
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