Since the last Mental Health Act 1983: Code of Practice was introduced in 2008 there have been substantial changes and updates in legislation, policy, case law, and professional practice. This revised Code reflects and embeds developments since then in areas including the use of restrictive interventions, seclusion, use of police powers to detain people in places of safety, and the use of community treatment orders.
This Code of Practice provides statutory guidance to registered medical practitioners, approved clinicians, managers and staff of providers, and approved mental health professionals on how they should carry out functions under the Mental Health Act ('the Act') in practice. It is statutory guidance for registered medical practitioners and other professions in relation to the medical treatment of patients suffering from mental disorder. The guidance given in this Code of Practice to local authorities and their staff is statutory guidance given under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970. The aforementioned people to whom the Code is addressed must have regard to the Code. It is important that these persons have training on the Code and ensure that they are familiar with its requirements. As departures from the Code could give rise to legal challenge.
The Code contains a chapter that gives guidance on the effect of the Act on the powers of donees of lasting power of attorney (attorneys) and court appointed deputies under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
The introduction contains information about the purpose and status of the Code, the role of the Care Quality Commission, what to do if you think the Code is being inappropriately applied and information about safeguarding and whistle blowing. Chapters have been grouped into seven clusters relating to common themes and topics, which cover:
- Underlying principles for care, treatment and support under the Act and good practice which advances equality and protects human rights
- Issues of importance when empowering patients in relation to their care and treatment, rights and autonomy, and ensuring they are treated with dignity and respect
- Guidance in relation to assessment, transport and admission to hospital, detentions under the Act, and use of the Mental Capacity Act
- Focus on the particular needs of specific patients and the role of professionals responsible for their care
- Guidance on the application of the appropriate medical treatment test and medical treatment
- Guidance on the circumstances when patients may leave hospital, including being fully discharged, on short-term leave or to receive care and treatment in the community
- Additional information for professionals with specific responsibilities under the Act and information for victims