Mental Health Act Commission

A quango set up under s121 Mental Health Act 1983. Replaced by the Care Quality Commission on 1/4/09 so everything on this page is out of date.

About the MHAC

The MHAC described itself as follows:

The Mental Health Act Commission was established in 1983 and consists of some 100 members (Commissioners), including laypersons, lawyers, doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists and other specialists.

Its functions are:

  • To keep under review the operation of the Mental Health act 1983 in respect of patients liable to be detained under the Act.
  • To visit and interview, in private, patients detained under the Act in hospitals and mental nursing homes.
  • To investigate complaints which fall within the Commission's remit.
  • To review decisions to withhold the mail of patients detained in the High Security Hospitals.
  • To appoint medical practitioners and others to give second opinions in cases where this is required by the Act.
  • To publish and lay before Parliament a report every 2 years.
  • To monitor the implementation of the Code of Practice and propose amendments to Ministers.

In addition, the Commission is encouraged by the Secretary of State to advise on policy matters that fall within the Commission's remit.

Biennial Reports

Guidance notes

On 1/11/08 the MHAC issued updated guidance notes, which were (at one point) available on the CQC website. They took effect on 3/11/08. On 5/11/08 they published guidance notes relevant to Wales, with the same titles.

  • The admission of children and adolescents to adult mental health wards and the duty to provide age-appropriate services
  • The identification and rights of the “Nearest Relative” under the Mental Health Act 1983
  • Nearest Relatives of non-UK residents
  • Guidance for SOADs: Consent to treatment & the SOAD role under the revised Mental Health Act
  • Guidance for SOADs: On giving reasons when certifying that treatment is appropriate
  • Guidance for clinicians and SOADs: The Mental Health Act 1983 the imposition of medical treatment in the absence of consent
  • The administration of Clozapine and other treatments requiring blood tests under the provisions of the Mental Health Act
  • Consultation with the ‘Other’ Professional in Second Opinions under the Mental Health Act
  • Guidance note for commissioners on consent to treatment and the mental health act 1983
  • Nurses, the administration of medicine for mental disorder and the Mental Health Act 1983
  • Guidance for Commissioners: The RCPsych consensus statement on high-dose antipsychotic medication
  • The treatment of anorexia nervosa under the Mental Health Act 1983
  • The Mental Health Act in Independent Hospitals
  • Use of the Mental Health Act 1983 in general hospitals without a psychiatric unit
  • Guidance for Commissioners: The revised Code of Practice: points to note for MHAC work
  • Scrutinising and rectifying statutory forms for admission under the Mental Health Act 1983
  • Leave of absence and transfer under the Mental Health Act 1983
  • Voting rights for detained patients

The following guidance was issued in January 2009:

  • Second Opinions for Supervised Community Treatment patients who are refusing medication for mental disorder
  • Treatment under emergency power for Supervised Community Treatment patients who are awaiting Second Opinions


In October 2008 the MHAC published the following new/updated forms:

  • MHAC1 - Review of Treatment Form (revised 30/10/08)
  • MHAC2 - SOAD Report Form (revised 29/10/08)
  • Blank Treatment Plan - FOR SCT Patients
  • Blank Treatment Plan - NON SCT Patients

The following forms were also available:

  • MHAC 4 - Visit undertaken following the Death of a detained patient
  • MHAC 5 - Post Inquest Report
  • MHAC 3 - Death of a Detained Patient information form
  • Vulnerable Patient Groups - Children and Minors


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