Emergency measures for mental health patients during Covid-19

Information for patients detained under the Mental Health Act during the coronavirus pandemic

Emergency measures for mental health patients during Covid-19

During the coronavirus pandemic, patients detained under the Mental Health Act still have the right to appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal.

All detained patients who wish to appeal or have already appealed and are awaiting a hearing date will still be able to attend the hearing which will proceed by means of telephone conference before a single judge. The procedure for appealing your detention is as follows:

  1. Complete the appeal form: this form is available from your ward staff / hospital administrator or solicitor who can also help to complete it;
  2. Submit the completed appeal form: your ward staff will be able to help you submit your application;
  3. Reports prepared on the reasons for detention: reports will be prepared and copies provided to you, your solicitor will discuss the reports with you over the phone and then take your instructions; 
  4. Present case to the Tribunal: a telephone conference will be arranged where your solicitor will help you present your case to the Tribunal by a group telephone conference (the hospital will set up access for you); 
  5. Judge's decision communicated: the decision of the judge will then be communicated to you in writing and your solicitor can explain the reasons for the decision to you.

Patient's instructions will still be taken in private and legal advice will be given. If it is not possible to attend in person then contact will be through phone or video conferencing (where possible). If you have other problems regarding your treatment or detention, particularly concerning the coronavirus then your solicitor will be able to offer advice.

The Tribunal process remains free of charge. Hunt & Coombs Solicitors will continue to offer free and independent legal advice and representation to all detained patients in the hospital.

Should you need help or advice on this or other issues concerning detention under the Mental Health Act, please contact us on 01733 882800 or email info@hcsolicitors.co.uk.

Author

Andy Cave, Partner and Team Leader for Mental Health

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.