The 1983 Mental Health Act brought several changes aimed at improving the rights of detained patients. Included was a new provision safeguarding the position of nursing staff – Section 5(4); no provision equivalent to the nurses' holding power existed in the 1959 Act. Nurses previously were expected to act in good faith to restrain patients where necessary while the doctor was sought. Such actions under common law were viewed by some to provide nurses with insufficient protection. The 1983 Act made clear the legal position of nurses. A suitably qualified psychiatric nurse can compulsorily detain a hospital patient receiving treatment for a mental disorder for up to six hours. This allows time for the responsible medical officer or nominated deputy to be obtained. The mental disorder must be of a degree where immediate detention is required to protect others from the patient, or to protect the patient's own health or safety.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.