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Mental health law

What is the Mental Health Act?

The Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983 is the law governing the compulsory treatment of certain people who have a mental disorder. The Act represents a careful balance between the individual rights of patients and society’s responsibility to protect them and other people from the harm which a mental disorder might cause.

How is the MHA regulated?

It is the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) role as a regulator to keep the use of the MHA under review and check it is being used properly.

CQC MHA commissioners perform this work by visiting all places where patients are detained under the act, and meet with them in private. Where requested, arrangements can also be made to meet patients who are on a community treatment order (CTO).

Guidance for people working with the MHA

Guidance for people whose work relates to the Mental Health Act can be found via the CQC website here.

Code of Practice - Mental Health Act 1983

The Code provides guidance to registered medical practitioners, approved clinicians, managers and staff of hospitals, and approved mental health professionals on how they should proceed when undertaking duties under the Act.

It also gives guidance to doctors and other professionals about certain aspects of medical treatment for mental disorder more generally.

The MHS 1983 Code of Practice document can be found here.

Trust leaflets

'Informal' or 'voluntary' admission to a mental health hospital.pdf