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Explains the rights you have to get your section lifted if you are being detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act, and your rights to care and support after leaving hospital.
If you have been sectioned, then it is very likely that your care planning will be carried out under one of these systems:
The Care Programme Approach (CPA) is for people in England with severe or complex mental health problems and those who may need services from a number of agencies to support them.
The CPA guidance says that if you are currently or have recently been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, then you should be supported under the CPA.
The CPA guidance says you should have:
The range of issues which your care planning will cover will depend on your condition and your exact needs. It will often include considering:
The CPA guidance is clear that the assessment and planning of your care should aim to meet your particular needs and should not just focus on what services can be offered.
Any discharge plans should be agreed with you and should involve your family and carer if this is what you want. The care plan should also not simply focus on your difficulties and needs but also on your strengths and what you hope to achieve with the support of services.
As soon as you are admitted to hospital, the people responsible for your healthcare should start assessing your needs and planning your discharge. This is stated in the English Mental Health Act Code of Practice and guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Before you leave hospital, there will be a discharge meeting where people involved in your care will develop a discharge care plan for you addressing your needs.
The care plan should:
You should be given at least 48 hours’ notice of the date for your discharge from hospital and your care arrangement should be discussed with any family or carers who will be involved in your care.
A Care and Treatment Plan (CTP) is a written plan in Welsh or English covering what you want to achieve in certain areas of your life and what mental health services will help to do this.
You have a legal right to a CTP if you receive secondary health services in Wales. Secondary health services might be care you receive from a psychiatrist, a community psychiatric nurse, a social worker or a member of the Community Mental Health Team.
Your CTP will cover eight areas:
The CTP will have a section setting out the outcomes you want to achieve in these areas. At least one of these outcomes has to be set out, but generally your care planning should try to cover outcomes you want to achieve in more than one of those areas.
The CTP will also have a section which sets out:
Your care coordinator will be responsible for working with you, other people involved in your healthcare and your family and carer (if you want to involve them) to agree to the outcomes in the CTP.
When you access secondary services, your local health board or local authority should appoint a care coordinator as soon as reasonably practicable. This might be:
If you already have a CTP before you are detained in hospital, it will be reviewed within 72 hours of your admission and updated. If you do not have a CTP before you are detained, a care coordinator will be appointed and a CTP will be prepared.
You are entitled to free aftercare services if you have been:
This is known as section 117 aftercare.
If you are in England, this will most likely be planned under the CPA and set out in your care plan. If you are in Wales, this will be assessed and planned under the CTP.
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.See our full list of legal terms.
This is a law that applies to England and Wales which allows people to be detained in hospital (sectioned) if they have a mental health disorder and need treatment. You can only be kept in hospital if certain conditions are met.
See our pages on the Mental Health Act for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
An advocate is a person who can both listen to you and speak for you in times of need. Having an advocate can be helpful in situations where you are finding it difficult to make your views known, or to make people listen to them and take them into account.
See our pages on advocacy for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
This tells health professionals how they should follow the Mental Health Act. It is not law, so it cannot be enforced by going to court, but health professionals should follow it unless there is a good reason not to.
The Code covers some areas not specifically mentioned in the Mental Health Act, such as visiting rights and the use of seclusion.
If a health professional doesn’t follow the Code, you can make a complaint.See our full list of legal terms.
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.See our full list of legal terms.
This is a special court that deals with cases relating to the Mental Health Act 1983. The Tribunal decides whether you can be discharged from your section and can sometimes make recommendations about matters such as hospital leave, transfer to another hospital, guardianship and community treatment orders (CTOs).
The court is made of a panel, which normally includes:
Where you see a reference to the Mental Health Tribunal in this guide, it means:
In Wales, voluntary patients can also have an IMHA.See our full list of legal terms.
If you have been sectioned and treated in hospital under certain sections, your responsible clinician can put you on a CTO. This means that you can be discharged from the section and leave hospital, but you might have to meet certain conditions such as living in a certain place, or going somewhere for medical treatment. Sometimes, if you don't follow the conditions or you become unwell, you can be returned to hospital.
See our pages on CTOs for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
This is where you are discharged from hospital but will have to follow some conditions, such as living at a particular place or meeting healthcare professionals. If you break these conditions, you can be recalled to hospital.
You will only be put under a conditional discharge if you have been:
This information was published in August 2018. We will revise it in 2020.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.