Part IV of the 1983 Mental Health Act (Sections 56–64) introduces new safeguards and procedures relating to Consent to Treatment for detained patients and in limited situations to informal patients. Many psychiatrists have expressed misgivings about these provisions and many are unfamiliar with the new requirements. One medical member of the Mental Health Act Commission visited twenty different hospitals for the purposes of issuing a Certificate of Second Opinion during a four-month period between October 1983 and February 1984. This paper discusses some of the practices and misunderstandings encountered.
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