Community treatment orders (CTOs)
Explains what a community treatment order (CTO) is, how it can affect you, and how you or your family members can change or end it.
When will a CTO end?
Your community treatment order (CTO) can end in several ways:
- Your CTO expires. This will happen if the CTO is not renewed or ended for one of the reasons below.
- Your CTO is revoked. If you are recalled to hospital and your CTO is revoked, the CTO will end and you will be placed back under your original section. This is because your responsible clinician thinks that you meet the criteria to be detained in hospital. See our page on recall to hospital for more information.
- Your responsible clinician discharges you. Your responsible clinician can end your CTO if the criteria for making the CTO no longer apply.
- You apply to the Mental Health Tribunal to be discharged. See our page on the Mental Health Tribunal for more information.
- A hospital managers' hearing discharges you. You can ask for a meeting with your hospital managers to consider discharging you. You can do this if you believe your CTO criteria no longer apply to you.
- Your nearest relative uses their right to discharge you. See our page on family members for more information.
If your CTO comes to an end, this means:
- You will no longer have to follow any conditions
- You cannot be recalled to hospital
- If you're on a CTO, you can be recalled for up to 72 hours if the responsible clinician thinks that:
you need medical treatment in hospital for your mental disorder, and
- there would be risk of harm to your health or safety or to others if you are not recalled.
You must meet both criteria.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
Responsible clinician (RC)
Certain decisions, such as applying for someone who is sectioned to go onto a community treatment order (CTO), can only be taken by the responsible clinician.
All responsible clinicians must be approved clinicians. They do not have to be a doctor, but in practice many of them are.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
Being 'sectioned' means that you are kept in hospital under the Mental Health Act. There are different types of sections, each with different rules to keep you in hospital. The length of time that you can be kept in hospital depends on which section you are detained under.
See our pages on sectioning for more information.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
Hospital managers (also known as Mental Health Act managers)
Hospital managers are an independent team of people in a hospital who make sure that the requirements of the Mental Health Act are properly applied. They have certain important responsibilities and can make decisions related to your detention.
In practice, most of the day-to-day decisions are taken by individuals authorised by the hospital managers to do so. This can include hospital staff. Decisions about discharge are normally delegated to a team of people who are independent of the hospital. You can apply to them to be discharged from your section and they will decide whether or not to discharge you.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
The nearest relative is a family member who has certain responsibilities and powers if you are detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act. These include the right to information and to discharge in some situations.
The law sets out a list to decide who will be your nearest relative. This can sometimes be changed.
See our pages on the nearest relative for more information.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
This information was published in June 2022. We will revise it in 2025.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.