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The Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986

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Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Order into force:

Admission to hospital for assessmentN.I.

Admission for assessmentN.I.

4.—(1) A patient may be admitted to a hospital for assessment and there detained for the period allowed by Article 9, in pursuance of an application for admission for assessment (in this Order referred to as “an application for assessment”) made in accordance with this Article.

(2) An application for assessment may be made in respect of a patient on the grounds that—

(a)he is suffering from mental disorder of a nature or degree which warrants his detention in a hospital for assessment (or for assessment followed by medical treatment); and

(b)failure to so detain him would create a substantial likelihood of serious physical harm to himself or to other persons.

(3) An application for assessment shall be founded on and accompanied by a medical recommendation given in accordance with Article 6 by a medical practitioner which shall include—

(a)a statement that, in the opinion of the practitioner, the grounds set out in paragraph (2)(a) and (b) apply to the patient;

(b)such particulars as may be prescribed of the grounds for that opinion so far as it relates to the ground set out in paragraph (2)(a);

(c)a statement of the evidence for that opinion so far as it relates to the ground set out in paragraph (2)(b).

(4) An application for assessment shall—

(a)be made in the prescribed form; and

(b)be addressed to the responsible[F1 authority].

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Person who may make application for assessmentN.I.

5.—(1) Subject to the following provisions of this Article, an application for assessment may be made by—

(a)the nearest relative of the patient; or

(b)an approved social worker,

and such a person is, in relation to an application for assessment made by him, referred to in this Order as “the applicant”.

(2) An application for assessment shall not be made by a person unless he has personally seen the patient not more than two days before the date on which the application is made.

(3) An application for assessment shall not be made by an approved social worker except after consultation with the person, if any, appearing to be the nearest relative of the patient unless it appears to the approved social worker that in the circumstances such consultation is not reasonably practicable or would involve unreasonable delay.

(4) Where the nearest relative of a patient notifies an approved social worker or the responsible[F2 authority] that he objects to an application for assessment being make in respect of the patient then—

(a)no application for assessment in respect of the patient shall be made by an approved social worker unless he has consulted another approved social worker; and

(b)if, after such consultation, an approved social worker makes an application for assessment in respect of the patient, he shall record the objection of the nearest relative on the application for assessment.

(5) Where a patient is admitted to a hospital for assessment in pursuance of an application for assessment made by an approved social worker without consulting the person appearing to be the nearest relative of the patient, it shall be the duty of that social worker to inform the nearest relative of the patient to that effect as soon as may be practicable.

(6) Where a patient is admitted to a hospital for assessment in pursuance of an application for assessment made by his nearest relative, the responsible[F2 authority] shall as soon as practicable arrange for a social worker to interview the patient and provide the responsible medical officer with a report on his social circumstances.

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General provisions as to medical recommendationN.I.

6.  The medical recommendation required for the purposes of an application for assessment shall be in the prescribed form and shall satisfy the following requirements, namely—

(a)the recommendation shall be given and signed by a medical practitioner who has personally examined the patient not more than two days before the date on which he signs the recommendation;

(b)the recommendation shall, if practicable, be given by the patient's medical practitioner or by a medical practitioner who has previous acquaintance with the patient;

(c)the recommendation shall not, except in a case of urgent necessity, be given by a medical practitioner on the staff of the hospital to which admission is sought;

(d)the recommendation shall not be given by any of the persons described in Schedule 1.

Application for assessment in respect of patient already in hospitalN.I.

7.—(1) An application for assessment may be made under this Part notwithstanding that a patient is already an in-patient in a hospital who is not liable to be detained there under this Order; and where an application is so made the patient shall be treated for the purposes of this Part as if he had been admitted to the hospital at the time when that application was received by the responsible[F3 authority].

(2) If, where a patient is an in-patient in a hospital, but is not liable to be detained there under this Order, it appears to a medical practitioner on the staff of the hospital that an application for assessment ought to be made in respect of the patient, he may furnish to the responsible[F3 authority] a report in the prescribed form to that effect; and where he does so, the patient may be detained in the hospital for a period not exceeding 48 hours from the time when the report is so furnished.

(3) If, where a patient is receiving treatment for mental disorder as an in-patient in a hospital, but is not liable to be detained there under this Order, it appears to a nurse of the prescribed class—

(a)that an application for assessment ought to be made in respect of the patient; and

(b)that it is not practicable to secure the immediate attendance of a medical practitioner for the purpose of furnishing a report under paragraph (2),

the nurse may record that fact in the prescribed form; and in that event the patient may be detained in the hospital for a period of 6 hours from the time when that fact is so recorded or until the earlier arrival at the place where the patient is detained of a medical practitioner having power to furnish a report under that paragraph.

(4) A record made under paragraph (3) shall be delivered by the nurse to the responsible[F3 authority] as soon as possible after it is made.

(5) Where a record is made under paragraph (3) the period mentioned in paragraph (2) shall begin at the time when it is made.

(6) A patient who has been detained in a hospital under paragraph (2) or paragraph (3) shall not be further detained under the same paragraph immediately after the expiry of that period of detention.

(7) The responsible[F3 authority] shall immediately forward to [F4 RQIA] a copy of any report furnished to the[F3 authority] under paragraph (2) and of any record delivered to the[F3 authority] under paragraph (4).

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[F5Power to detain in hospital pending admission to another hospitalN.I.

7A.(1) This Article applies to a hospital managed by an [F6HSC trust] other than an authorised [F6HSC trust] .

(2) If, where a patient is an in-patient in a hospital to which this Article applies, it appears to a medical practitioner on the staff of the hospital that an application for assessment ought to be made in respect of the patient, he may furnish to the [F6HSC trust] managing the hospital a report in the prescribed form to that effect; and where he does so, the patient may be detained in the hospital for a period not exceeding 48 hours from the time when the report is so furnished.

(3) A patient who has been detained in a hospital under paragraph (2) shall not be further detained under that paragraph immediately after the expiry of that period of detention.

(4) An [F6HSC trust] shall immediately forward to [F7RQIA] a copy of any report furnished to the trust under paragraph (2).]

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Effect of application for assessmentN.I.

8.—(1) An application for assessment duly completed in accordance with this Part shall be sufficient authority for—

(a)the applicant or a person authorised by the applicant; or

(b)the responsible[F8 authority], if the applicant so requests in a case of difficulty,

to take the patient and convey him to the hospital specified in the application at any time within the period of—

(i)two days beginning with the date on which the medical recommendation was signed; or

(ii)such longer period (not exceeding 14 days) as a medical practitioner appointed for the purposes of this Part by [F9 RQIA] may certify in the prescribed form to be necessary in exceptional circumstances.

(2) Where a patient is admitted within that period to the hospital specified in any such application, or, being within a hospital, is treated by virtue of Article 7 as if he had been so admitted,—

[F8(a)the application shall be sufficient authority for the responsible authority to detain the patient in the hospital in accordance with Article 9; and]

(b)the responsible[F8 authority] shall immediately forward to [F9RQIA] a copy of the application for assessment and of the medical recommendation on which it is founded.

(3) Where a patient who is subject under this Order to the guardianship of a person other than a[F8 Board or an authorised [F10HSC trust]] is admitted to hospital for assessment, it shall be the duty of the responsible[F8 authority] to inform the guardian of the patient to that effect as soon as may be practicable.

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The assessment periodN.I.

9.—(1) A patient admitted to hospital pursuant to an application for assessment made in accordance with this Part shall be examined immediately after he is admitted thereto by—

(a)the responsible medical officer;

(b)a medical practitioner appointed for the purposes of this Part by [F11 RQIA ] ; or

(c)any other medical practitioner on the staff of the hospital.

(2) The examination required by paragraph (1) shall not be carried out by the medical practitioner who gave the medical recommendation on which the application for assessment is founded.

(3) A medical practitioner carrying out an examination under paragraph (1) shall immediately furnish to the responsible[F12 authority] in the prescribed form a report of that examination and the date on which such a report is furnished to the[F12 authority] is referred to in this Part as “the date of admission”.

(4) A patient admitted to hospital pursuant to an application for assessment may be detained in hospital for the purpose of enabling an examination to be made and a report to be furnished under the preceding provisions of this Article and where a report so furnished by a medical practitioner states that in his opinion the patient should be detained in hospital for assessment, the patient may be detained in hospital—

(a)where the report was furnished by the responsible medical officer or by a medical practitioner appointed for the purposes of this Part by [F11 RQIA], for a period not exceeding 7 days beginning with the date of admission;

(b)where the report was furnished by any other medical practitioner, for a period not exceeding 48 hours from the time when the report was furnished;

but shall not be so detained for any longer period unless he has become liable to be detained by virtue of paragraph (7) or (8).

(5) A patient detained by virtue of sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph (4) shall be examined before the expiration of the period referred to in that sub-paragraph by the responsible medical officer.

(6) The responsible medical officer shall immediately furnish to the responsible[F12 authority] in the prescribed form a report of the examination carried out under paragraph (5).

(7) Where a report so furnished by the responsible medical officer states that in his opinion the patient should be detained in hospital for assessment for a further period, the patient may be detained in hospital for a period not exceeding 7 days beginning with the date of admission but shall not be so detained for any longer period unless he has become liable to be detained by virtue of paragraph (8).

(8) Where during the period for which a patient is detained by virtue of paragraph (4)(a) or (7) he is examined by the responsible medical officer and the responsible medical officer furnishes to the responsible[F12 authority] in the prescribed form a report of the examination stating that in his opinion the patient should be detained in hospital for assessment for a further period, the patient may be detained in hospital for a further period not exceeding 7 days beginning immediately on the expiration of the period for which he is detained by virtue of paragraph (4)(a) or (7) but shall not be detained for any longer period unless he has become liable to be detained for treatment by virtue of Article 12.

(9) If it is not practicable for an examination under paragraph (5) or (8) to be carried out by the responsible medical officer, it may instead be carried out by a medical practitioner appointed for the purposes of this Part by [F11 RQIA] and in such a case references in paragraphs (5) to (8) to the responsible medical officer shall be construed as including references to a medical practitioner so appointed.

(10) The responsible[F12 authority] shall immediately forward to [F11 RQIA] a copy of any report furnished to the[F12 authority] under paragraph (3), (6) or (8).

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Disregard of assessment period for certain purposesN.I.

10.—(1) This Article applies to any person who—

(a)is admitted to hospital for assessment and detained there by virtue of Article 9 for any period (in this Article referred to as “the assessment period”); and

(b)at the end of the assessment period does not become liable to be detained for treatment by virtue of Article 12.

(2) Where a question seeking information with respect to the previous health or circumstances of any person to whom this Article applies is put to him or to any other person, otherwise than in judicial proceedings—

(a)the question shall be treated as not relating to the assessment period and the answer thereto may be framed accordingly; and

(b)the person questioned shall not be subjected to any liability or otherwise prejudiced in law by reason of any failure to acknowledge or disclose the assessment period in his answer to the question.

(3) Any obligation imposed on any person by any rule of law or by the provisions of any agreement or arrangement to disclose any matters to any other person shall not extend to requiring him to disclose—

(a)the assessment period for which he was detained, if he is a person to whom this Article applies; or

(b)the assessment period for which any other person to whom this Article applies was detained.

(4) The fact that a person to whom this Article applies has been detained in hospital for assessment or any failure to disclose that fact shall not be a proper ground for dismissing or excluding that person from any office, profession, occupation or employment, or for prejudicing him in any way in any occupation or employment.

(5) Any disqualification, disability, prohibition or other penalty which by virtue of any rule of law or statutory provision other than this Order attaches to or is imposed on any person by reason of the fact that he has been liable to be detained under this Part of this Order shall not attach to or be imposed on a person to whom this Article applies.

(6) In paragraph (2) “judicial proceedings” includes, in addition to proceedings before any of the ordinary courts of law, proceedings before any tribunal, body or person having power—

(a)by virtue of any statutory provision, law, custom or practice;

(b)under the rules governing any association, institution, profession, occupation or employment; or

(c)under any provision of an agreement providing for arbitration with respect to questions arising thereunder,

to determine any question affecting the rights, privileges, obligations or liabilities of any person, or to receive evidence affecting the determination of any such question.

Rectification of applications, recommendations and reportsN.I.

11.—(1) Where within the period of 14 days beginning with the date of admission, the application for assessment, the medical recommendation or any report given under Article 9 is found to be in any respect incorrect or defective, the application, recommendation or report may, within that period and with the consent of the responsible[F13 authority], be amended by the person by whom it was signed; and where any such amendment is made the application, recommendation or report shall have effect and shall be deemed always to have had effect as if it had been originally made as so amended.

(2) Without prejudice to paragraph (1), where within the period mentioned in that paragraph it appears to the responsible[F13 authority] that a medical recommendation or a report under Article 9 is insufficient to warrant the detention of a patient under this Part, it may, within that period, give notice in writing to that effect to the applicant; and where any such notice is given in respect of a medical recommendation or report, that recommendation or report shall be disregarded, but the application for assessment shall be, and shall be deemed always to have been, sufficient if—

(a)a fresh medical recommendation or report complying with the relevant provisions of this Part (other than those relating to the time at which a recommendation must be signed or a report furnished) is furnished to the responsible[F13 authority] within that period; and

(b)that recommendation or report complies with those provisions.

(3) The responsible[F13 authority] shall immediately inform [F14RQIA] of any amendment made under paragraph (1) and shall immediately forward to [F14RQIA] a copy of any fresh medical recommendation or report furnished to the[F13 authority] under paragraph (2)(a).

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