Section 5(2) of the Mental Health Act, 1983 allows for the detention of an informal in-patient, should he/she wish to leave hospital but be considered a danger to him/herself or others if allowed to do so. The 72 hour period of detention allows time for a completed assessment for application for admission under Section 2 or 3 of the Act; it is not intended to replace this fuller assessment. The 1983 Mental Health Act introduced new provisions with regard to Section 5(2). The equivalent Section 30 of the Mental Health Act 1959 did not provide for a nominated deputy to act on behalf of the registered medical practitioner in charge of the patient's treatment (RMP). The nominee must exercise his/her own clinical judgement but, as indicated in the Code of Practice (1990), must contact the nominating doctor or another consultant to discuss the need for Section 5(2), before implementing it. The nurses' holding power, Section 5(4), was also a new provision in the 1983 Act.
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