The Mental Health Act brought a number of signficant changes to psychiatric practice. Among the most important were changes in the process of compulsory admissions. Other notable alterations have been a change in the definition of the nearest relative; a reduction in duration of treatment section by a half; a right to appeal against their detention by all patients; the observation section becoming an assessment and treatment section; the introduction of nurses holding power; the removal of age limits for admission of patients with psychopathic disorder and mental impairment, and the introduction of the treatability clause. These and other important differences could be expected to interact with social work and psychiatric practice to influence the number of compulsory admissions. Previous correspondence has examined this question, to which we add our findings.
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