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Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

Section 198 - Termination of hospital directions

This section provides that the Department of Justice must, on receipt of a relevant notification before a person’s release date, by warrant direct that a person serving a prison sentence and detained in hospital under a hospital direction is removed to any prison in which he or she might have been detained if the hospital direction had not been given. On the person’s arrival in prison, the hospital direction ceases to have effect.

However, this does not apply if (having received a relevant notification) the Department of Justice directs that with effect from a specified date the person is to be treated as if he or she had been removed to hospital under a relevant provision and that the hospital direction is to cease to have effect. “Relevant provision” is defined as meaning section 16(2) of the Prison Act (Northern Ireland) 1953 or paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 to the Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998.

The section defines “relevant notification” as a notification by a suitable medical practitioner (defined as the responsible medical practitioner or any medical practitioner who is approved by RQIA for the purposes of this section as having special experience in the diagnosis or treatment of disorder of the kind in question) that, in the opinion of the practitioner, the person does not have, or no longer has the disorder in  respect of which the hospital direction was given, no effective treatment for the disorder can be given to him or her in the hospital, or it is more likely than not that if he or she were transferred to a prison, that no serious physical or psychological harm to him or herself or serious physical harm to other persons would result from his or her ceasing to be provided with medical treatment as an in-patient in a hospital.

The section also provides that where a person is serving a custodial sentence which is not a sentence of imprisonment, references to prison mean a place where persons serving a sentence of that kind may be detained.

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