Correspondence of patients
134.—(1) A postal packet addressed to any person by a patient detained in a hospital under this Act and delivered by the patient for dispatch may be withheld from [the postal operator concerned]—
- (a) if that person has requested that communications addressed to him by the patient should be withheld; or
- (b) subject to subsection (3) below, if the hospital is [one at which high security psychiatric services are provided] and the managers of the hospital consider that the postal packet is likely—
- (i) to cause distress to the person to whom it is addressed or to any other person (not being a person on the staff of the hospital); or
- (ii) to cause danger to any person;
and any request for the purposes of paragraph (a) above shall be made by a notice in writing given to the managers of the hospital, [or] the [approved clinician with overall responsibility for the patient's case] [...].
(2) Subject to subsection (3) below, a postal packet addressed to a patient detained [under this Act in a hospital at which high security psychiatric services are provided] may be withheld from the patient if, in the opinion of the managers of the hospital, it is necessary to do so in the interests of the safety of the patient or for the protection of other persons.
(3) Subsections (1)(b) and (2) above do not apply to any postal packet addressed by a patient to, or sent to a patient by or on behalf of—
- (a) any Minister of the Crown [or the Scottish Ministers] or Member of either House of Parliament [or member of the Scottish Parliament] [or of the Northern Ireland Assembly];
- [(aa) any of the Welsh Ministers, the Counsel General to the Welsh Assembly Government or a member of the National Assembly for Wales;]
- [(b) any judge or officer of the Court of Protection, any of the Court of Protection Visitors or any person asked by that Court for a report under section 49 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 concerning the patient;]
- (c) the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, [the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,] [the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales,] the Health Service Commissioner for England [...] or a Local Commissioner within the meaning of Part III of the Local Government Act 1974:
- [(ca) the Care Quality Commission;]
- (d) [the First-tier Tribunal or the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales];
- (e) [the National Health Service Commissioning Board, a clinical commissioning group,] a [...] [[Local Health Board] [[or Special Health Authority] [...]]], a local social services authority, a Community Health Council [...] [, a] [local probation board established under section 4 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000] [or a provider of probation services];
- [(ea) a provider of a patient advocacy and liaison service for the assistance of patients at the hospital and their families and carers;
- (eb) a provider of independent advocacy services for the patient;]
- (f) the managers of the hospital in which the patient is detained;
- (g) any legally qualified person instructed by the patient to act as his legal adviser; or
- (h) the European Commission of Human Rights or the European Court of Human Rights.
[and for the purposes of paragraph (d) above the reference to the First-tier Tribunal is a reference to that tribunal so far as it is acting for the purposes of any proceedings under this Act or paragraph 5(2) of the Schedule to the Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984.]
[(3A) In subsection (3) above—
- (a) "patient advocacy and liaison service" means a service of a description prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State, and
- [(b) "independent advocacy services" means services provided under—
- (i) arrangements under section 130A [or section 130E]* above;
- (ii) arrangements under [section 223A of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007] or section 187 of the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006; or
(4) The managers of a hospital may inspect and open any postal packet for the purposes of determining—
- (a) whether it is one to which subsection (1) or (2) applies, and
- (b) in the case of a postal packet to which subsection (1) or (2) above applies, whether or not it should be withheld under that subsection;
and the power to withhold a postal packet under either of those subsections includes power to withhold anything contained in it.
(5) Where a postal packet or anything contained in it is withheld under subsection (1) or (2) above the managers of the hospital shall record that fact in writing.
(6) Where a postal packet or anything contained in it is withheld under subsection (1)(b) or (2) above the managers of the hospital shall within seven days give notice of that fact to the patient and, in the case of a packet withheld under subsection (2) above, to the person (if known) by whom the postal packet was sent; and any such notice shall be given in writing and shall contain a statement of the effect of [section 134A(1) to (4)] above.
(7) The functions of the managers of a hospital under this section shall be discharged on their behalf by a person on the staff of the hospital appointed by them for that purpose and different persons may be appointed to discharge different functions.
(8) The Secretary of State may make regulations with respect to the exercise of the powers conferred by this section [and section 134A].
(9) In this section "hospital" has the same meaning as in Part II of this Act, [and "postal operator" and] "postal packet" [have] the same meaning as in [Part 3 of the Postal Services Act 2011 (see section 27)] [...].
- * = Amendment applies to WALES ONLY
- Postal Services Act 2000
- Health Act 1999
- Health and Social Care Act 2012 s44(1); Health and Social Care Act 2012 (Commencement No.1 and Transitory Provision) Order 2012/1319 art 2 (1/7/12). Section 44(1) removes reference to the Secretary of State. Note s44(2): 'Subsection (1) of this section does not affect the validity of any requests made to the Secretary of State under section 134(1) of that Act and having effect immediately before the commencement of this section.'
- Mental Health Act 2007 s14; Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No.7 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2008 wef 3/11/08
- Scotland Act 1998 (Consequential Modifications) (No 2) Order 1999
- Northern Ireland Act 1998
- Government of Wales Act 2006 (Consequential Modifications and Transitional Provisions) Order 2007
- Mental Capacity Act 2005 s67 & sch 6
- Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2004
- Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005 wef 1/4/06
- Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005
- Health and Social Care Act 2008 sch 3; Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Commencement No 9, Consequential Amendments and Transitory, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2009 wef 1/4/09
- Transfer of Tribunal Functions Order 2008 wef 3/11/08
- Health and Social Care Act 2012 sch 5 para 29; Health and Social Care Act 2012 (Commencement No.4, Transitional, Savings and Transitory Provisions) Order 2013/160 art 2 (1/4/13)
- References to Health Authorities Order 2007
- Health Act 1999 (Supplementary, Consequential, etc Provisions) Order 2000
- Health Authorities Act 1995
- Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 wef 30/6/08
- Offender Management Act 2007 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2008 wef 1/4/08
- Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000
- Health and Social Care Act 2001
- Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 sch 1 para 8; in force 3/1/12 'except in so far as it relates to Welsh qualifying informal patients' (Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 (Commencement No.1 and Transitional Provision) Order 2011/3046 art 2(k)); in force 2/4/12 'in so far as not already commenced' (same Order, art 3); subject to the transitional provision that 'where a qualifying patient in Wales is receiving help under arrangements made under section 130A ... [f]rom 3/1/12 the help is to be treated as if it had been given under arrangements made under section 130E ' (art 5)
- Health and Social Care Act 2012 s185; in force 27/3/12 'so far as is necessary for enabling the exercise ... of any power to make an order or regulations or to give directions' (s306); in force 1/4/03 otherwise (Health and Social Care Act 2012 (Commencement No.4, Transitional, Savings and Transitory Provisions) Order 2013/160 art 2)
- Mental Health Act 2007, s30(3); Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 8 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2008 (Wales only) wef 3/11/08; Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 10 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2009 (England) wef 1/4/09. This amendment had been made on 1/4/08 for the purpose only of making regulations: Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 4) Order 2008
- Postal Services Act 2011 sch 12 part 3 para 115, wef 1/10/11