Section 210 - Training etc. of approved mental health professionals in England
1268.This section further amends section 60 of the 1999 Act to enable section 60 orders to modify the new functions of the Council in relation to the education and training of approved mental health professionals. Those functions are to be transferred to the Council from the General Social Care Council.
1269.Approved mental health professionals are professionals with particular expertise in mental health who are approved by local social services authorities to carry out certain important functions under the 1983 Act. It is, for example, approved mental health professionals who make the large majority of applications under the 1983 Act for people to be detained in hospital for assessment or treatment of their mental disorder. Most current approved mental health professionals are social workers, but the Mental Health (Approved Mental Health Professionals) (Approval) (England) Regulations 2008(12) provide that local social services authorities in England may also approve mental health and learning disability nurses, occupational therapists and practitioner psychologists. Those regulations also provide that those authorities may not approve new approved mental health professionals unless they have completed a training course approved by the General Social Care Council (or the Care Council for Wales).
1270.The extension of the power in section 60 replaces the power of the Secretary of State in section 126 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to make regulations modifying the General Social Care Council’s functions in relation to approved mental health professionals’ education and training.
1271.This amendment goes with some other changes to the 1999 Act made in other sections. Section 209 adds a new subsection (2ZE) to section 60 making clear that acting as an approved mental health professional does not fall within the definition of social work for the purposes of section 60 if the approved mental health professional is not a social worker. This is to ensure that healthcare professionals acting as approved mental health professionals are not required to register as social workers as well as members of the profession to which they belong.
1272.Similarly, new paragraph 1B to Schedule 3 to the 1999 Act (added by section 211(3)) specifies that a section 60 order may deal with the standards of conduct and performance expected of professionals and social care workers when acting as approved mental health professionals. That is particularly intended to avoid any suggestion that the normal standards of professional conduct and performance set by the Council (or another regulatory body) cannot apply to members of the profession concerned when acting as approved mental health professionals.