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01 December 2021

Compulsory hospital admission: reporting findings to key stakeholders

An investigation into the reasons for difficulties in securing the involvement of doctors at Mental Health Act assessments is entering its reporting phase


On 1 December, findings from the Availability of section 12 approved doctors research project were presented by members of the research team to the Chairs of the four Section 12 Doctors and Approved Clinicians Approvals Panels. The Panels are responsible for overseeing the training and processes for doctors to become approved to undertake assessments under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA). At these assessments, doctors decide whether to recommend that people are compulsorily admitted to hospital. Some of the staff managing the Register of Section 12 Doctors and Approved Clinicians (maintained by the Approval Panels) were also present at this meeting.

The research aimed to explore reported difficulties in securing the involvement of section 12 doctors at MHA assessments. The researchers conducted an analysis of the Register as well as interviews with section 12 doctors, Approved Mental Health Professionals and key informants. Findings suggested that the poor availability of section 12 doctors to undertake MHA assessments (for a number of reasons) may be at least as significant a factor as the overall numbers of these doctors. Findings also suggested the need for more data collection to clarify the picture (for example, in relation to the total number of MHA assessments that are being carried out). The presentation provoked a wide-ranging discussion of different views about the nature of the problem and possible approaches to improve the co-ordination of MHA assessments.

The researchers expect the final report from this study to be published early in the new year. 

In this story

Nicole Steils

Research Fellow

Research Fellow

Jill Manthorpe

Professor Emerita of Social Work