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GN Law Media: Will the Mental Health Act be changed by the HSCA 2012?

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 will come in to force on 13th April 2013. The main changes it makes to the Mental Health Act 1983 will be -

- SOADs will no longer be needed to approve ECT or medication after one month. If the person has capacity and consents, the approved clinician  (AC) alone can provide authority. This does not apply to under 18s. If consent is withdrawn, which happens automatically if the person loses capacity, then the SOAD is needed. Consent can continue while a SOAD is sought if it is the case that capacity has been lost and the AC feels that stopping treatment would cause serious suffering to the patient. If consent is withdrawn and the person retains capacity, treatment can only continue if they are recalled to hospital.

- a PCTs duty under s117 to provide aftercare (together with the local authority), will transfer to 'clinical commissioning groups' (CCGs). Their duty will be to commission the care, not to provide it. This will allow the secretary of state to ensure that one CCG be responsible for commissioning an individual's care. Currently, it can be the case that two separate PCTs can be involved for different reasons.

- patients in hospital who are not eligible for benefits will no longer receive 'pocket money' from the PCT.

- the duty to provide Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) will pass from the PCT to the local authority.

- the secretary of state will no longer have the power to direct that a patient be transferred from one special hospital to another.

There are other minor changes but these are the main ones likely to have day to day impact.


Andrew Guile


Posted on Friday, 14th September 2012