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Mental Health Act Commission [s.120-121]

The Commission is independent of the hospital.  It is a Special Health Authority that caries out functions on behalf of the Secretary of State and the National Assembly for Wales.  The Commission performs functions of a public nature and is therefore a “public authority” for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998.  The members of the Commission (known as Commissioners) are drawn from doctors, lawyers, nurses, social workers, psychologists and other specialists, as well as interested laypersons. The Mental Health Act Commission reviews the operation of the Act and the way its powers of detention and Consent to Treatment provisions are exercised and to ensure the rights of detained patients are being upheld. The Commissioners visit all hospitals and units where patients are detained under the Act.  They can interview patients, examine legal documentation, investigate complaints and monitor deaths of detained patients. Perhaps most importantly they prepare a report every two years which is laid before Parliament.

 

The Commission issues practice notes on special issues related to the Act. It has produced the Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice, a copy of which should be made readily available on all hospital wards.


 

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