Mental Health Tribunal Assessment
A mental health tribunal is a specialist hearing to resolve disputes surrounding mental health treatment by administering independent reviews for individuals who are detained in psychiatric hospitals and may be subject to involuntary treatment such as forced drugging without the consent of the individual patient being detained.
The tribunal will consist of a legal delegate such as a senior lawyer or judge, a medical representative and a specialist community member. The medical representative is delegated to act on behalf of the clinical responsibility for the detained patient, whilst the community representative represents a “non-legal” specialist to act as a layperson.
In addition, the patient should attend the tribunal along with a patient advocate who is involved in a specialised area of health care concerned with advocacy for patients, and in addition to a legal representative, mental health professionals, and any family members who wish to attend. Depending on the individual circumstance, tribunals may be held privately or may be open to the public.
Who Might Need It?
The tribunal is for individuals who have been admitted to a psychiatric hospital under Section 2 or Section 3 of the Mental Health Act, or for individuals who are being treated outside the hospital under a Community Treatment Order (CTO). For individuals detained under Section 2, they are eligible to apply within the first 14 days after sectioning.
For individuals detained under Section 3, the individual or next of kind may apply for the tribunal. Individuals can apply once at a time, at any time in the first 6 months after initial sectioning. If the section is renewed, then individuals may apply once in the second 6 months, and then once in every 12-month period. Tribunals should happen within 8 weeks of the initial application.
Mental health tribunals may occur in hospitals where the patient is sectioned and may be used for patients who wish to appeal and subsequently be discharged from their section. Members present will assess the individual’s mental health by considering recent reports and assessing how well the individual appears to be recovering and will decide whether the discharge the patient from the section.
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