Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015: advice for groups

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

Notification of EDC and STDC

Sections 4-5 of the 2015 Act

These sections of the 2015 Act include amendments to the duties to notify certain parties about Emergency Detention Certificates (EDC) and Short-Term Detention Certificates (STDC). For EDCs, section 4 adds welfare guardians and welfare attorneys (if known) to the list of people who should be notified if an EDC is granted. It gives hospital managers discretion as to whether the full notification should be shared to those listed.

For STDCs, section 5 adds a duty to send a copy of the certificate to the individual, the individual’s named person and any guardian or welfare attorney of the individual and notification, but not a copy, of the certificate to the Tribunal and the Commission.


Internal processes and guidance should be up-to-date to ensure the correct parties are notified.

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 including the health board. Places duty on health board to publicise information about support it offers on making an advance statement and to report how they are meeting this duty to the Commission.


As well as ensuring that processes are in place for keeping advance statements with medical records, health boards will need to proactively ensure that they are publicising the support available to individuals to make an advance statement. Guidance will set out how best this should be done, including ensuring that individuals are aware of the Commission support and guidance for this, ensuring that individuals are informed about how members of their care team can help and support them in making an advance statement and ensuring individuals know about third sector support, such as peer support services, which can support the individual to make an advance statement.

Providing information to the Mental Welfare Commission

Section 27 of the 2015 Act

This section of the 2015 Act requires local authorities, health boards, and the State Hospitals Board for Scotland to provide information to the Mental Welfare Commission on how they are meeting their duties to secure the availability of independent advocacy support under section 259 of the 2003 Act and how they plan to do so.


This will require reporting every two years, the Mental Welfare Commission will set out what information is required.

Communication assistance at medical exams

Section 28 of the 2015 Act

This section of the 2015 Act extends circumstances where communication assistance must be provided. This includes interviews with the individual under section 45 (STDC) and 61 (Compulsory Treatment Order application) of the 2003 Act and 57C (Compulsion Order application) and 59B (Hospital Direction) If the interview takes place in hospital, the responsibility lies with hospital managers.


This is likely to have been good practice and it formalises the duty.

Conflict of interest

Section 29 of the 2015 Act

This section of the 2015 Act adds medical examinations related to mandatory reviews of CTOs and COs to the list of medical examinations where regulations may set out what is considered a conflict of interest and what is not a permitted conflict of interest and is set out in regulations.


Health boards will need to be aware of, and make sure that RMOs are acting in line with, the new conflict of interest regulations, including that these now govern mandatory reviews of CTOs and COs. The regulations are likely to have most impact where the individual is detained and resident in a independent hospital, health boards may wish to consider arrangements needed if a service user from the health board area is in independent healthcare.

Services and accommodation for mothers

Section 31 of the 2015 Act

This section of the 2015 Act extends the duties in section 24 of the 2003 Act to provide provide services and accommodation for certain mothers with post-natal depression to mothers with a mental disorder other than post-natal depression.


These services are often already offered to the mothers who will now be included, but health boards should be aware that there is now a duty to provide these services and accommodation.



Telephone: 0131 244 4006


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

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