We examined the effect on civil sections and the rate of appeals against them of the amendments made to the Mental Health Act 1983 as a result of the Mental Health Act 2007. We gathered data for the year before and after the introduction of these changes.
We found increased use of Section 2 (56.8% before and 65.8% after (P < 0.001)) and decreased use of Section 3 (39.5% before and 31.2% after (P < 0.001)). The number of appeals against civil sections decreased (697 before and 692 after) but there was an 8.0% increase in the proportion of appeals to mental health tribunals. There was a decrease in admissions under these sections (817 before and 733 after).
These changes may be unintended consequences of the new law, resulting in increased workloads for psychiatrists and costs to the National Health Service.
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