Monitoring the use of the Mental Health Act in 2009/10: an overview of CQC’s findings and recommendations from our first annual report on our monitoring of how the Act is used: summary

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Care Quality Commission
Care Quality Commission
Date of publication
1 October 2010
Mental health services, Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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This is a summary of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) first annual report on its monitoring of the use of the Mental Health Act 1983 (the Act). CQC has a duty under the Act to monitor how services in England exercise their powers and discharge their duties in relation to individuals who are detained in hospital under the Act, or subject to community treatment orders (CTOs) or guardianship. The primary purpose is to protect the rights of people who are subject to the powers of the Act, and to review the use of legal powers of compulsion.

CQC must visit and interview in private people whose rights are restricted under the Act. Specially appointed Mental Health Act Commissioners carry out these visits. They meet with detained patients to discuss their experiences and concerns, make sure that they understand their rights and check that staff are using the Act correctly. The Commissioners are empowered to look at any records, including medical records, and to investigate matters of concern.

This report identifies three priority areas for improvement and recommends that service providers should take action to review and ensure progress in the following: 

  1.  Involving detained patients in their care and treatment to enhance their experience of care and promote recovery.
  2. Practice relating to patients’ capacity and consent, ensuring that ongoing discussions of these issues with patients are an integral part of treatment planning.
  3. Unnecessary restrictions and blanket security measures which can compromise patients’ privacy or dignity, or unnecessarily restrict their autonomy. 

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