New requirements for age-appropriate accommodation for children

The s131A duty to provide age-appropriate accommodation is in force from 1/4/10. The duties to provide information (amended s39 and s140) came into force on 3/11/08.

See also

Extract from Explanatory Notes

Section 31: Accommodation etc

104. Section 31 adds new section 131A to the 1983 Act. This places hospital managers under a duty to ensure that patients aged under 18 admitted to hospital for mental disorder are accommodated in an environment that is suitable for their age (subject to their needs). In determining whether the environment is suitable, the managers must consult a person whom they consider to be suitable because of their experience in child and adolescent mental health services cases.

105. Section 31 also amends section 39 of the 1983 Act (information as to hospitals) to provide that a court may request information from a primary care trust (PCT) (in England) or local health board (LHB) (in Wales) when dealing with a person aged under 18 in certain cases. Those cases are where the court is minded to make a hospital order or interim hospital order, to remand the person to hospital for a report on their mental condition (section 35) or for treatment (section 36), or (in the case of a magistrates' court) to order detention in hospital when committing an offender to the crown court (section 44). The information will be about the availability of accommodation or facilities designed to be specially suitable for patients under 18. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that courts do not place a child in a prison setting when a suitable hospital bed would be a more appropriate option.

106. Section 31 also amends section 140 of the 1983 Act (notification of hospitals having arrangements for reception of urgent cases) to place a duty on PCTs and LHBs to advise local social service authorities in their area of hospitals providing accommodation specially suitable for patients aged under 18.


Date in forceCommencement orderMHA 2007 sectionMHA 1983 sections affected
3/11/08 Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No.7 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2008 31(1), (2), (4) s39, s140 amended
1/4/10 Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 11) Order 2010 31(3) s131A added


Mental Health Act 2007 Explanatory Notes - pages 19-20

Young Minds: A Briefing on the Responsibilities of NHS Trust Boards under Section 131A of the Mental Health Act 1983, due to come into force on 1st April 2010 - published March 2010

Bevan Brittan: New responsibilities for NHS Trusts in relation to children admitted onto Psychiatric wards - 8/6/10


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