Search Legislation

Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003

Patients incapable of consenting

436.Section 236 sets out the conditions that must be met before neurosurgery for mental disorder or other treatments specified in regulations under section 234 can be given to patients who are incapable of consenting.

437.The effect of subsections (1) and (2) is as follows. A patient who opposes the treatment, either by stating an objection or by resisting treatment, may not be given such treatment. Where a patient does not resist or object to receiving the treatment, but is unable to consent, a designated medical practitioner must certify that this is the case and that the treatment is in the patient’s best interests. Two lay persons appointed by the Commission must certify in writing that the patient is incapable of consenting and that the patient does not object to the treatment. In addition, the responsible medical officer must apply to the Court of Session for an order authorising the treatment specified. The Court of Session may authorise the treatment only if satisfied that, having regard to the likelihood of the treatment alleviating, or preventing a deterioration in, the patient’s condition, it is in the best interests of the patient, and the patient does not object to the treatment.

438.If the patient is aged under 16, subsection (6) sets out special rules which must be complied with in relation to the certification under subsection (2).

Sections 237 to 241: safeguards for other medical treatment
Electro-convulsive therapy etc

439.Subsections (1) and (2) of section 237 provide that the types of medical treatment mentioned in subsection (3) may be given to patients to whom the giving of medical treatment is authorised by virtue of the 2003 Act or the 1995 Act, only in accordance with the safeguards set out in sections 238 and 239. Subsection (3) mentions electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) and other types of treatment to be specified in regulations made by the Scottish Ministers, after consultation with appropriate persons.

440.The section is subject to section 243 which allows urgent medical treatment for patients detained in hospital (see paragraphs 457 to 460 below).

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources