Mental Health Act - emergency and short-term powers: guide

A guide for service users and their carers to the Mental Health Act emergency and short-term powers (2008 version).

1 Some terms used in this guide

The Act: The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

Advance statement: this is a written statement, drawn up and signed when the person is well, which sets out how he/she would prefer to be treated (or not treated) if he/she were to become ill in the future. It must be witnessed and dated. The Tribunal and any medical practitioner treating the person must take notice of an advance statement but are not bound by it. If the wishes set out in an advance statement have not been followed by the medical practitioner or the Tribunal, they must send to the patient, the patient's named person and the Mental Welfare Commission a written record giving the reasons for this. There is a separate topic guide that explains advance statements in more detail.

Independent advocate: under the Act anyone with a mental disorder has the right to access an independent advocate. An independent advocate is able to give support and help to enable a person to express their own views about their care and treatment.

Mental disorder: this is a term used in the Act to include people who have a mental illness (including dementia), a learning disability or a personality disorder.

Mental Health Officer ( MHO): this is a specially trained social worker who deals with people with mental disorder and has particular duties under the Act.

Mental Health Tribunal: The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland was set up by the Act to make decisions about the compulsory care and treatment of people with mental disorder.

Mental Welfare Commission: The Mental Welfare Commission is an independent organisation. Its role is to protect the welfare of people who are vulnerable through mental disorder.

Named person: this is someone who will look after the person's interests if he or she has to be treated under the Act.

Place of safety: this is a place where someone might be taken in certain circumstances if they need to be assessed and arrangements made for their care. It might be a hospital, care home, or other suitable place. As a last resort, if no other places are available, it might be a police station.

Responsible medical officer ( RMO): this is the medical practitioner, usually a consultant psychiatrist, who is responsible for the person's care and treatment.

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