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Effect of recent changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 on sections and appeals: possible unintended consequences

  • Tom Walker-Tilley (a1), Tim Exworthy (a2), Martin Baggaley (a1), Laura Wilkinson (a1) and Ramin Nilforooshan (a3)...
Abstract
Aims and method

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.

Results

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).

Clinical implications

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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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Ramin Nilforooshan (ramin.nilforooshan@nhs.net)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Department of Health. Code of Practice: Mental Health Act 1983: para. 4.26–29. TSO (The Stationery Office), 2008.
2 NHS Information Centre. In-patients Formally Detained in Hospitals Under the Mental Health Act 1983 and Patients Subject to Supervised Community Treatment: 1998-99 to 2008-09. NHS Information Centre, 2009.
3 Nilforooshan, R, Amin, R, Warner, J. Ethnicity and outcome of appeal after detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. Psychiatr Bull 2009; 33: 288–90.
4 Rimmer, MA, O'Connor, S, Anderson, D. Appeal against detention under the Mental Health Act 1983: relationship to age and incapacity. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2002; 17: 884–5.
5 Deshpande, N, Morton, T, Haque, S, Oyebode, F. Appeals to the Mental Health Review Tribunal in an ageing population. Med Sci Law 2008; 48: 246–50.
6 Aziz, VM. Trends in the Mental Health Act Review Tribunals: A Welsh experience 2004–2008. J Forensic Leg Med 2009; 16: 375–7.
7 Secretary of State for Health. The Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 7 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2008. SI 2008/1900. TSO (The Stationery Office), 2008.
8 Secretary of State for Health. The Mental Health (Hospital, Guardianship and Treatment) (England) Regulations 2008. SI 2008/2560. TSO (The Stationery Office), 2008.
9 Blumenthal, S, Wessely, S. The cost of Mental Health Review Tibunals. Psychiatr Bull 1994; 18: 274–6.
10 Department of Health. Mental Health Review Tribunal Report April 1999 to March 2001. Department of Health Publications, 2002.
11 Jones, R. Mental Health Act Manual (11th edn). Sweet & Maxwell, 2008.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Effect of recent changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 on sections and appeals: possible unintended consequences

  • Tom Walker-Tilley (a1), Tim Exworthy (a2), Martin Baggaley (a1), Laura Wilkinson (a1) and Ramin Nilforooshan (a3)...
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