Swine flu and temporary MHA amendments
Pandemic influenza and the Mental Health Act 1983: consultation on proposed changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 and its associated secondary legislation.
"You are invited to comment on proposals for temporary amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 which may be required in the event of the severe staff shortages that may be expected during an influenza pandemic. You are invited to say whether you think these proposals are likely to be helpful. Please let us know if there are any significant issues which you think we should have included, or if we have included anything unnecessary."
Law Society response - 14/10/09
Dept of Health, 'Pandemic Influenza and the Mental Health Act 1983: Response to Consultation on Proposed Changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 and its Associated Secondary Legislation' (29/7/11). The Government have concluded that all of the proposed temporary amendments (and further amendments to s5) would be an appropriate part of a package of contingency measures. The proposals requiring legislative changes are: (1) Allowing just one medical recommendation on an application by an AMHP for someone to be detained under sections 2 or 3 of the 1983 Act. (2) To facilitate C1 above, preparing special forms A2A and A6A for use by a doctor making a single medical recommendation. (3) Changing the number of doctors involved in decisions to transfer people from prison to hospital under Part 3 of the 1983 Act. (4) Suspending the obligation to obtain SOAD opinions on medication. (5). Suspending time limits on conveying people and admitting them to hospital under Part 3. (6). Suspending time limits on warrants for transferring people from prison to hospital. (7) Giving courts discretion to renew remands under the 1983 Act beyond the normal 12 week maximum. (8) Allowing SHAs the flexibility to approve former RMOs and former approved clinicians to be temporary approved clinicians. (9) Allowing SHAs the flexibility to approve current section 12 doctors who have not previously acted as RMOs to be temporary approved clinicians (10) Allowing local social services authorities the flexibility to approve former ASWs and former AMHPs to be temporary AMHPs. (11) Seeking a three-month transitional period for SOAD second opinions. (12) If there should be a large number of staff deaths, keeping the contingency measures for temporarily approved AMHPs and approved clinicians in place until fully trained replacements can be approved. (13) Extending the periods of emergency detention permitted under section 5(2) (emergency detention of a hospital in-patient by a doctor or approved clinician) from up to 72 hours to up to 120 hours. (14) Extending the periods of emergency detention permitted under section 5(4) (emergency detention of a hospital in-patient by a nurse with special expertise in mental health or learning disability) from up to 6 hours to up to 12 hours. (15) Allowing any approved clinician or registered medical practitioner to detain a hospital in-patient under section 5(2) rather than just the one in charge of the case. (16) To facilitate C15 above, preparing special form H1A for use by an approved clinician or doctor who is not in charge of the case.