Mental Health Act 1983

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1983 c. 20


Mental Health Act 1983

1983 CHAPTER 20

An Act to consolidate the law relating to mentally disordered persons.

[9th May 1983]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Application of Act

Part I

Application of Act

S-1 Application of Act: ‘mental disorder’.

1 Application of Act: ‘mental disorder’.

(1) The provisions of this Act shall have effect with respect to the reception, care and treatment of mentally disordered patients, the management of their property and other related matters.

(2) In this Act—

‘mental disorder’ means mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder and any other disorder or disability of mind and ‘mentally disordered’ shall be construed accordingly;

‘severe mental impairment’ means a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind which includes severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning and is associated with abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the person concerned and ‘severely mentally impaired’ shall be construed accordingly;

‘mental impairment’ means a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind (not amounting to severe mental impairment) which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning and is associated with abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the person concerned and ‘mentally impaired’ shall be construed accordingly;

‘psychopathic disorder’ means a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including significant impairment of intelligence) which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the person concerned;

and other expressions shall have the meanings assigned to them in section 145 below.

(3) Nothing in subsection (2) above shall be construed as implying that a person may be dealt with under this Act as suffering from mental disorder, or from any form of mental disorder described in this section, by reason only of promiscuity or other immoral conduct, sexual deviancy or dependence on alcohol or drugs.

II Compulsory Admission to Hospital and Guardianship

Part II

Compulsory Admission to Hospital and Guardianship

Procedure for hospital admission

Procedure for hospital admission

S-2 Admission for assessment.

2 Admission for assessment.

(1) A patient may be admitted to a hospital and detained there for the period allowed by subsection (4) below in pursuance of an application (in this Act referred to as ‘an application for admission for assessment’) made in accordance with subsections (2) and (3) below.

(2) An application for admission for assessment may be made in respect of a patient on the grounds that—

( a ) he is suffering from mental disorder of a nature or degree which warrants the detention of the patient in a hospital for assessment (or for assessment followed by medical treatment) for at least a limited period; and

( b ) he ought to be so detained in the interests of his own health or safety or with a view to the protection of other persons.

(3) An application for admission for assessment shall be founded on the written recommendations in the prescribed form of two registered medical practitioners, including in each case a statement that in the opinion of the practitioner the conditions set out in subsection (2) above are complied with.

(4) Subject to the provisions of section 29(4) below, a patient admitted to hospital in pursuance of an application for admission for assessment may be detained for a period not exceeding 28 days beginning with the day on which he is admitted, but shall not be detained after the expiration of that period unless before it has expired he has become liable to be detained by virtue of a subsequent application, order or direction under the following provisions of this Act.

S-3 Admission for treatment.

3 Admission for treatment.

(1) A patient may be admitted to a hospital and detained there for the period allowed by the following provisions of this Act in pursuance of an application (in this Act referred to as ‘an application for admission for treatment’) made in accordance with this section.

(2) An application for admission for treatment may be made in respect of a patient on the grounds that—

( a ) he is suffering from mental illness, severe mental impairment, psychopathic disorder or mental impairment and his mental disorder is of a nature or degree which makes it appropriate for him to receive medical treatment in a hospital; and

( b ) in the case of psychopathic disorder or mental impairment, such treatment is likely to alleviate or prevent a deterioration of his condition; and

( c ) it is necessary for the health or safety of the patient or for the protection of other persons that he should receive such treatment and it cannot be provided unless he is detained under this section.

(3) An application for admission for treatment shall be founded on the written recommendations in the prescribed form of two registered medical practitioners, including in each case a statement that in the opinion of the practitioner the conditions set out in subsection (2) above are complied with; and each such recommendation shall include—

( a ) such particulars as may be prescribed of the grounds for that opinion so far as it relates to the conditions set out in paragraphs ( a ) and ( b ) of that subsection; and

( b ) a statement of the reasons for that opinion so far as it relates to the conditions set out in paragraph ( c ) of that subsection, specifying whether other methods of dealing with the patient are available and, if so, why they are not appropriate.

S-4 Admission for assessment in cases of emergency.

4 Admission for assessment in cases of emergency.

(1) In any case of urgent necessity, an application for admission for assessment may be made in respect of a patient in accordance with the following provisions of this section, and any application so made is in this Act referred to as ‘an emergency application’.

(2) An emergency application may be made either by an approved social worker or by the nearest relative of the patient; and every such application shall include a statement that it is of urgent necessity for the patient to be admitted and detained under section 2 above, and that compliance with the provisions of this Part of this Act relating to applications under that section would involve undesirable delay.

(3) An emergency application shall be sufficient in the first instance if founded on one of the medical recommendations required by section 2 above, given, if practicable, by a practitioner who has previous acquaintance with the patient and otherwise complying with the requirements of section 12 below so far as applicable to a single recommendation, and verifying the statement referred to in subsection (2) above.

(4) An emergency application shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of 72 hours from the time when the patient is admitted to the hospital unless—

( a ) the second medical recommendation required by section 2 above is given and received by the managers within that period; and

( b ) that recommendation and the recommendation referred to in subsection (3) above together comply with all the requirements of section 12 below (other than the requirement as to the time of signature of the second recommendation).

(5) In relation to an emergency application, section 11 below shall have effect as if in subsection (5) of that section for the words ‘the period of 14 days ending with the date of the application’ there were substituted the words ‘the previous 24 hours’.

S-5 Application in respect of patient already in hospital.

5 Application in respect of patient already in hospital.

(1) An application for the admission of a patient to a hospital may be made under this Part of this Act notwithstanding that the patient is already an in-patient in that hospital or, in the case of an application for admission for treatment, that the patient is for the time being liable to be detained in the hospital in pursuance of an application for admission for assessment; and where an application is so made the patient...

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