Power to specify hospital units
s47 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 states that certain powers to specify a hospital includes the power to specify a specific hospital unit. This applies when the following orders/directions are made:
- Hospital order with restriction order, s37/41
- Hospital and limitation direction, s45A
- Restricted transfer direction, s47/49
- Admission order under Criminal Procedure (Insanity and Unfitness to Plead) Act 1991 Schedule 1 with order equivalent to restriction order (which can no longer be made: see Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004)
Any reference in legislation to "hospital" is then taken to refer to the specified hospital unit instead. This affects the following decisions:
- The RMO needs Ministry of Justice permission to grant leave of absence (under s17) except within any grounds of the specified hospital unit. In normal circumstances, the RMO does not need permission to grant leave within the hospital grounds (and only needs permission for "community" leave).
- Ministry of Justice permission is also required for the transfer (under s19) of a patient from the specified unit to another unit of the same hospital. Normally the Ministry of Justice is only involved in transfer between hospitals.
The purpose of the power is to allow the Ministry of Justice to have a say in the level of security in which the patient is detained.
From Ministry of Justice website:
- Home Office Circular 5297 - 30 July 2007 - "Guidance on the amendments made by the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 to the Mental Health Act 1983."