Consultation with the 'other' professional in second opinions under the Mental Health Act

Document type
Guidance note
Corporate author(s)
Care Quality Commission
Publisher
Care Quality Commission
Date of publication
17 April 2012
Subject(s)
Health Services, Mental health services, Mental health services
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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This guidance note clarifies an aspect of Section 58 of the Mental Health Act regarding the need to consult with two persons who are professionally concerned with the patient’s treatment before authorising medication. The Act states “and of those persons one shall be a nurse and the other shall be neither a nurse nor a registered medical practitioner” (s.58(4)). The Care Quality Commission sought advice on this issue, and decided to interpret the law as preventing someone who is registered as a nurse from being the ‘other’ consultee, whether or not s/he is acting as a nurse or even practising in another profession (e.g. as a psychologist or social worker). This interpretation, which should ensure that the second consultee is able to apply a non-medical and non-nursing perspective, is being adopted as a precautionary measure. There has been no legal ruling on this matter.