for better mental health

Community treatment orders (CTOs)

Explains what a community treatment order is, how it affects you and how you can change or end it.

When can I be recalled to hospital?

You can be recalled to any hospital if your 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 can only be recalled if you meet both criteria. For example, you cannot be recalled just because you stop taking your medication. But if you stop taking your medication, and your responsible clinician thinks that you will get unwell, they can recall you.

Your responsible clinician can also recall you if you don't follow the two conditions that are attached to every CTO.


Dionne has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and a condition of the CTO is to let the community psychiatric nurse into her house to give her medication.

Dionne decides that she is better and doesn't need her medication so she doesn't let her community psychiatric nurse into the house. She is not seen by her community psychiatric nurse or anyone for two weeks and they are worried that she is unwell. Her responsible clinician therefore decides to recall her.

What happens if I am recalled to hospital?

If you are recalled to hospital, firstly you must be given notice in writing. This can either be sent to you in the post or be given to you in person. Here is the form that would be used: form for England or form for Wales.

You can either go to the hospital yourself or you could be taken to hospital by the police or ambulance. You can also ask that someone comes with you.

Once you are back in hospital, they will complete a form: see the form for England or form for Wales. This makes a note of the time your detention started.

You can be kept in hospital for up to 72 hours. Your responsible clinician will see you and decide what the next steps are. You can be forced to have treatment if your responsible clinician thinks that you need it. Your responsible clinician can then decide to either release you back to the community on the CTO or decide that you need to stay in hospital.

If you need to stay in hospital, your CTO will be revoked and you will be detained on your original section. An approved mental health professional will need to agree to this and a form will be completed: see form for England or form for Wales.

See our information on sectioning to find out about what happens when you are detained in hospital.

This information was published in December 2017.

This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published. 

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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