Section 3 of the Mental Health Act

I have been admitted to hospital under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983, why am I being held?

You are being held in hospital/mental nursing home under the advice of two doctors in order for you to be given treatment and care for a mental disorder. The reason for this is the belief that:

  • You are suffering from a mental disorder which makes it appropriate for you to receive care in hospital;
  • Such treatment is likely to alleviate or prevent a deterioration of your condition; and 
  • You ought to be detained for your own health and safety or for the protection of other persons.

How long will I be here? Can I leave?

You can be kept in hospital for 6 months at first so that you can be given the treatment you need. If the doctor thinks you need to stay longer than that he will speak to you and then apply to have the Section extended for another 6 months, and then annually from there on in.

You must not leave unless a doctor tells you that you can, if you try to leave without permission the staff are authorised to stop you and if you do leave you can be taken back to hospital or mental nursing home.

What will happen next?

Your doctor will tell you when they think you are well enough to leave hospital. You will be provided with whatever treatment and/or medication is believed to be suitable for you during this time and you will be kept informed about your progress.

Can I appeal?

Yes you can, our role as solicitors is to help patients who do not feel that they belong in a hospital under a Section.

In order to appeal you can apply for a Hospital Managers' Meeting where you would be able to ask them to let you leave. They would want to speak to either you, or a person who represents you (such as a solicitor), in order to make that decision. Your nearest relative can also write to the Hospital Managers and request that you be allowed to leave the hospital. If your nearest relative does this, the Hospital Managers must let you leave within the next 72 hours unless you are considered to be a danger to yourself and/or others.

You can also appeal by applying for a Mental Health Review Tribunal. This would give you, or a person who represents you (such as a solicitor), the opportunity to explain your wish for a discharge from hospital in front of your doctor, their medical team and a panel of independent advisors. You can apply to the Tribunal once at any time in the first 6 months you are kept in hospital under Section 3. You may then apply once at any time during the second 6 months, and then once during every year that you are kept in hospital after that.

If you have any further questions or require advice please contact us on 01733 882800 or by using the link below.


Richard Boucher