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The Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986

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Leave of absence from hospitalN.I.

15.—(1) The responsible medical officer may grant to any patient who is for the time being liable to be detained in a hospital under this Part leave to be absent from the hospital subject to such conditions, if any, as that officer considers necessary in the interests of the patient or for the protection of other persons.

(2) Leave of absence may be granted to a patient under this Article either on specified occasions or for any specified period; and where leave is so granted for a specified period, that period may be extended by further leave granted in the absence of the patient.

(3) Where it appears to the responsible medical officer that it is necessary to do so in the interests of the patient or for the protection of other persons, he may, upon granting leave of absence under this Article, direct that the patient remain in custody during his absence; and where leave of absence is so granted the patient may be kept in the custody of any officer of the responsible[F1 authority], or of any other person authorised in writing by that[F1 authority].

(4) Where leave of absence is granted to a patient under this Article or where a period of leave is extended by further leave and the leave or the extension is for a period of more than 28 days, it shall be the duty of the responsible[F1 authority] to inform [F2RQIA] within 14 days of the granting of leave or of the extension, as the case may be, of the address at which the patient is residing and, on the return of the patient, to notify [F2RQIA] thereof within 14 days.

(5) Where—

(a)a patient is absent from a hospital in pursuance of leave of absence granted under this Article; and

(b)it appears to the responsible medical officer that it is necessary to do so in the interests of the patient's health or safety or for the protection of other persons or because the patient is not receiving proper care;

that officer may, subject to paragraph (6), by notice in writing given to the patient or to the person for the time being in charge of the patient, revoke the leave of absence and recall the patient to the hospital.

(6) A patient to whom leave of absence is granted under this Article shall not be recalled under paragraph (5) after he has ceased to be liable to be detained under this Part.

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