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.
If you have been detained in hospital, you may be discharged on to a community treatment order (CTO).
The UK Government is changing the Mental Health Act.
- A CTO is an order made by your responsible clinician to give you supervised treatment in the community.
- This means you can be treated in the community for your mental health problem, instead of staying in hospital. But your responsible clinician can return you to hospital and give you immediate treatment if necessary.
- A CTO will come with certain extra conditions that you have to follow. For example, living in a certain place or going to appointments for treatment.
- You can only be put on a CTO if you are in hospital under certain sections, and if certain criteria are met.
- A CTO lasts 6 months from the date of the order. It can be renewed by your responsible clinician.
- If you want to be discharged from your CTO, you can apply to the Mental Health Tribunal.
- While you are on a CTO, you have the right to support from an independent mental health advocate (IMHA).
- Your nearest relative will have certain rights relating to your care and treatment. For example, finding out information about you and discharging you.
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
Independent mental health advocate (IMHA)
- You have a right to an IMHA if you are:
detained in hospital under a section of the Mental Health Act, but not if you are under sections 4, 5, 135 and 136
- under Mental Health Act guardianship, conditional discharge and community treatment orders (CTOs)
- discussing having certain treatments, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
In Wales, voluntary patients can also have an IMHA.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
This information was published in June 2022. We will revise it in 2025.
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