The purpose of the act, which came into force in April 1996, is 'to provide a system of supervision of care in the community of certain patients who have been detained in hospital':
- in England and Wales the responsible medical officer applies for 'after-care under supervision' (ACUS) to the health authority 6-monthly for the first year then yearly.
- application can only be made in respect of a patient currently liable to be detained in hospital.
- the patient must be 16 or older and mentally disordered.
- there could be serious risk of harm to the patient or others if they were not to receive further care services.
- supervision will help to ensure receipt of further care services.
- the patient cannot be treated against their will but can be conveyed to a day centre or hospital.