Section 57 of the Mental Health Act 1983 relates to certain forms of medical treatments for mental disorder which require both consent and a second opinion. It applies to any surgical operation for destroying brain tissue or for destroying the functioning of brain tissue; it also applies to the surgical implantation of hormones for the suppression of male sexual drive. These treatments cannot be given unless the patient has consented and three independent people, including a medical practitioner, certify that the patient is capable of understanding the nature of the treatment proposed, has consented to it, and the appointed registered medical practitioner has certified that the treatment is appropriate. This paper examines whether Section 57 is indeed justifiable and whether the current procedure needs amendment.
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