In principle, the informal psychiatric patient is in a similar legal position to the patient in a general hospital. However, in an emergency, if it becomes necessary to undertake a Mental Health Act assessment on an informal inpatient, the Act allows for a doctor to hold the patient for a period of up to 72 hours to give time for completion of Section 2 or 3. It is also possible for a nurse of the “prescribed class” to hold a patient for period of up to 6 hours to enable a patient to be examined by a doctor.

It is the responsibility of the Hospital Managers to make sure that a detained patient receives information about the powers of detention, their right of appeal to the Hospital Managers, and to the Mental Health Review Tribunal, their right to access an Independent Mental Health Advocate and their right to refuse certain types of treatment.

Last Updated: April 18, 2013
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