Mind responds to 'sectioning' doctors announcement
Posted Monday 29 October 2012
The Secretary of State for health, Jeremy Hunt, has today announced that some doctors involved in detaining people involuntarily under the Mental Health Act 1983 were not properly validated.
Doctors are supposed to be approved by the Strategic Health Authority (SHA). However, the Department for Health learned last week that in four SHAs, this responsibility was unlawfully passed on to local Mental Health Trusts.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, responded:
Being involuntarily detained via the Mental Health Act is one of the most serious things that can happen to someone in terms of their mental health.
For this reason it is essential that the system works as it should, with safeguards in place to protect the rights of the person being detained. It is therefore regrettable that this mistake has been made and that it went unnoticed for so long.The Department of Health has assured us that this is nothing but a technical issue. There is currently no suggestion that the clinical assessments carried out would have been done any differently had the doctors concerned been properly validated.
We hope that the Strategic Health Authorities concerned will ensure that, regardless of the validation process, anyone currently detained under the Mental Health Act is detained using the correct procedures.
We welcome the independent review announced by the Secretary of State and look forward to working with the review team and the government to establish exactly what has happened and why.
We are in touch with the Department of Health about the implications of this for people who have been detained. We will be briefing our information lines to offer relevant information and support as soon as we know more.
Mind's Infoline number is 0300 123 3393 and the Legal Advice Line number is 0300 466 6463. Lines are open Monday-Friday, 9am until 6pm.