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Section 2 (Mental Health Act)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Section 2 of the Mental Health Act allows compulsory admission for assessment, or for assessment followed by medical treatment, for a duration of up to 28 days.

An application under Section 2 can be made by a relative or an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP)and must be supported by two medical recommendations one of which must be from an approved doctor under Section 12 of the Act ie. having special experience in the diagnosis or treatment of mental disorder - generally a consultant or senior registrar psychiatrist.

The medical recommendations must agree that the detention is in the interests of the patient's own safety, or the safety of others, or the patient is suffering from mental disorder of a nature or degree which warrants detention for assessment, or assessment followed by treatment, at least for a limited period.

Appeal to the Mental Health Review Tribunal is allowed within 14 days of admission

  • the Mental Health Act 2007 has earlier automatic referral to a Mental Health Review Tribunal (Tribunal) where patients don't apply themselves and new Tribunal system structure

Each medical recommendation shall include a statement that the grounds of the application are complied with and must be signed on or before the date of the application. One medical recommendation may be given by a doctor on the staff of the hospital admitting the patient; this does not extend to nursing homes. It is often most appropriate for this to be the consultant who will subsequently treat the patient.


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