Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015: advice for groups

Information about how the 2015 Act affects service users and professionals.

Nurse’s holding power

Section 20 of the 2015 Act

This section of the 2015 Act amends the holding power under section 299 of the 2003 Act so that it applies for up to three hours from the outset.

Guidance sets out that this power should be used in the least restrictive manner and that an Approved Medical Practitioner (AMP) should still attend as quickly as possible so the impact should be low, but make the timescales clearer.

Named persons

Sections 22-25 of the 2015 Act

These sections of the 2015 Act make various changes to the provisions around appointing a named person. This includes:

  • removes the sections of the 2003 Act that give an individual over 16 a named person by default if they have not chosen one
  • changes the 2003 Act so that named person must consent in writing to taking on the role
  • removes current power of Tribunal to appoint named person for an individual over 16 and for MHO and others to apply to Tribunal for appointment of named person
  • makes provision for the Tribunal to remove an existing person if they are considered inappropriate to act as a named person and, if the service user is under 16, substitute another person to act as named person
  • allows the carer, nearest relative, welfare guardian or welfare guardian to initiate applications/appeals and receive information at specified sections of the Act when (a) there is no named person and (b) the individual does not have capacity to do so on their own behalf

As well as needing to be aware of the changes, nursing staff will have a role in supporting individuals, their carers and families, to understand the new options for representation and helping the individual to decide what is best for them.

Advance statements

Section 26 of the 2015 Act

This section of the 2015 Act requires copy of advance statements to be placed with person’s medical records. Requires certain information to be sent to the Mental Welfare Commission to be held in register which can be accessed by certain persons. Places duty on health board to publicise information about support it offers on making an advance statement.

There are no additional duties for nursing staff but nurses will want to be aware that advance statements will be held with medical records and the new duties on health boards, especially if they are likely to take a role in supporting the individual to make an advance statement.



Telephone: 0131 244 4006


Mental Health Directorate
Scottish Government
St Andrew’s House
Regent Road

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