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Mental Health Review Tribunals: A case for delayed discharge?

  • D. F. Bermingham (a1)
Extract

Prior to the 1983 Mental Health Act (MHA), Mental Health Tribunals (MHRTs) did not have the power to order delayed discharge of a patient appealing against a section, although there was evidence that tribunals used the power of adjournment to allow time for follow-up to be arranged. This power was used more often with patients in special hospitals where the option of remaining on an informal basis did not exist. Hepworth and others advocated giving tribunals the power of delayed discharge. This was supported by the White Paper (1978) and subsequently became part of the 1983 MHA, together with some increase in the responsibility of the local authorities to provide after care for Section 3 and 37 patients. But the new Act also allowed the appeal of patients on Section 2, while giving no responsibility to the local authority for their after-care. It was difficult to see how delayed discharge could be implemented as an after-care safeguard for Section 2 patients who would often have only two weeks or so of their Section to run in any case. With this in mind, I studied all cases appearing before the MHRT in a general psychiatric hospital in the two years following the new Act.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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1. Greenland, C. (1970) Mental Illness and Civil Liberty. London: G. Bell & Sons.
2. Hepworth, D. (1983) The decision process of the Mental Health Review Tribunal—(1) Review of literature and research. Medical Science Law, 23, 131140. (2) Analysis of research findings. Medical Science Law,23, 171–182.
3. Greenland, C. (1975) Tribunal discharge from Rampton. Social Work Today, 6, 1.
4. Fenton, T. W. (1984) The aftermath of the Mental Health Act 1983: Some preliminary impressions. Bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 8, 190193.
5. Bingley, W. (1985) The Mental Health Act 1983—the safeguards for patients. Journal of the Medical Defence Union,Summer 1985, 1516.
6. Farmer, A. (1984) Tribunal Nouveau 1983: A first taste of the Mental Health Act. Bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. 8, 2324.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0140-0789
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Mental Health Review Tribunals: A case for delayed discharge?

  • D. F. Bermingham (a1)
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