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

Section 261: provision of assistance to patient with communication difficulties

510.Section 261 applies in respect of patients subject to the same sorts of measures as those covered by section 260. Subsection (1) lists those patients. If such a patient has difficulty in communicating generally (for example as a result of their mental disorder, any physical or sensory impairment, or literacy difficulties) or where their first language is not English, then the section imposed further duties upon the appropriate person. (“Appropriate person” has the same meaning here as in section 260(5) (see paragraph 507 of these Notes)).

511.Subsection (2) requires the appropriate person to take all reasonable steps to secure that appropriate arrangements are made, or assistance provided, to enable the patient to communicate effectively at any Tribunal proceedings, any review of the patient’s detention, or any medical examination carried out to assess the patient's mental disorder.

512.No particular form of assistance is specified. What will be appropriate will depend on the needs of the particular patient. For example, arrangements might include the provision of interpreters or translators, or of appropriate equipment.

513.The steps taken in implementing the duty in subsection (2) must be recorded by the appropriate person in a written record (see subsection (5)).

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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.


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