The Mental Health Act 1983 allows suitably qualified people to detain a patient in hospital if they have a ‘mental disorder’ (defined as any disorder or disability of the mind), which is putting their safety, or the safety of others, at risk. Detention in hospital under the Mental Health Act is often referred to as being ‘sectioned’.
Section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 allows the NHS to detain and treat a patient in hospital for up to 6 months with the option to renew the section for a further 6 months, and annually thereafter. The patient involved does have clear rights of appeal against the section and a strict process should be followed to ensure they are notified of their rights.
What aftercare should legally be provided?
Upon being discharged from section 3 the patient is entitled to aftercare services pursuant to s117 of the Mental Health Act 1983. These aftercare services should be funded jointly by the NHS and the relevant Local Authority, and are not subject to a means assessment.
The services which can be provided under s117 are not limited and an assessment of the person’s needs should be undertaken by the relevant authorities. Aftercare services are defined within the Care Act 2014 and are services which:
- Meet a need arising from or related to the person’s mental disorder; and
reduce the risk of a deterioration of the person’s mental condition (and accordingly reducing the risk of the person requiring admission to a hospital again for treatment for the disorder).
- Entitlement to aftercare has no time limit and can continue indefinitely as long as the person continues to have eligible needs. This is especially relevant when the person who has been sectioned is elderly, and where the mental disorder is a form of progressive dementia. If the elderly person needs to be admitted to a care home as a result of their dementia, then s117 funding should meet the reasonable cost of the care home fees.
How can SAS Daniels help with aftercare following detention under the Mental Health Act?
When it comes to aftercare funding, there are often disputes around the type of care that’s required and the level of funding which is available. Our team of solicitors are able to advise and help you challenge the decisions that have been made.
Our specialist team act for a wide range of clients and as a result have a depth of knowledge surrounding mental health problems. Here are a few examples of how we have previously helped clients:
- Helping a client receive increased funding to cover the fees of a care home which was closest to their family, rather than settling for the cheaper home which was further away;
- Recovering care fees that had been paid by a client who had been told it would take 6 months for their s117 aftercare funding to be approved;
- Acting for a client whose Local Authority asked them to pay top up fees as they would not fund the care home which was most suitable to meet their needs.