Mental health law in Scotland: guide to named persons

A named person is someone who can look after your interests if you are cared for or treated under mental health legislation. This guide provides information to help you understand your rights.

1. An Overview of the Named Person Role

A named person is someone who can look after your interests when you are subject to the compulsory powers under the law (for example compulsory treatment or detention in hospital). You will have a named person only if you choose to nominate one (unless you are under the age of 16 — see section 2). This is an opportunity for you to have an additional voice to represent and safeguard your interests.

Your named person has similar rights to you at the Tribunal. They can apply and appeal to the Tribunal and can appear and be represented at Tribunal hearings. This includes hearings about your care and treatment. Your named person is also entitled to be given information concerning any compulsory measures which have been taken or are being asked for, where this is provided for by the law.

The Tribunal is an independent body which makes decisions about applications for compulsory care and treatment.

Your named person can put forward their views about your care or treatment and has a right to have their views taken account of by anyone acting under the law (for example a doctor, psychiatrist, nurse, or social worker).

The role of your named person is to represent and safeguard your interests. Your named person may be able to help you exercise your rights. They can help to set out your past and present wishes and feelings. They can help you to be involved in, and understand, decisions about your care and treatment.

At times your views might be different to your named person's views. You don't always have to agree with each other and you can both do what you think is right. It is important that you and your named person know that you can both act independently of each other.

Although your named person is acting to represent and safeguard your interests and feelings, they don't have to agree with you if they feel it is not the best way forward. For example, your named person can decide whether to make an application to the Tribunal on your behalf without waiting for you to ask them to do it.

If you no longer wish to have a named person, you can cancel (revoke) your nomination. This means that you will no longer have a named person unless you nominate someone else (see section 6).

Your named person is able to:

  • be involved in discussions about care options for you;
  • be consulted when certain things happen — for example, when a short-term detention or an application for a compulsory treatment order (CTO) is being considered;
  • be notified when certain changes to your circumstances happen, for example if your short-term detention is revoked;
  • receive copies of certain records or information which are given to you;
  • make applications or appeals to the Tribunal, receive documents and speak and give or lead evidence at a hearing;
  • agree to two medical examinations taking place at the same time, if you are not capable of consenting; and
  • ask for an assessment of your needs from the local authority and/or Health Board.

However, if you can't choose a named person (because you do not have the capacity to make this decision), information on other safeguards as well as information on the rights of certain people to act for you is provided in section 2. Section 2 also provides information on safeguards that are available whether you have a named person or not.

Your mental health officer (MHO) has a duty to find out who your named person is, if you have one. Your mental health officer (MHO) is also responsible for providing information and advice about your rights, which includes information on the role of a named person and how to make arrangements for having a named person. Your mental health officer (MHO) will be able to discuss with you any of the information in this leaflet.


Email: Dan Curran

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