I would like to bring to light an apparent oversight in the new statutory rules relating to consent to treatment by the mentally ill and mentally handicapped. This will have very serious consequences for the management of patients who are on short-term detention orders. The provisions relating to consent to treatment set out in Part IV of the Mental Health Act 1983 are the first attempt to cover by statutory controls the doctor's clinical freedom to prescribe treatment for his compulsorily detained patient. In addition, certain of the new provisions (which take effect from 30 September 1983) apply to the voluntary patients as well.
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