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section 3 (Mental Health Act)

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Section 3 is similar to section 2, only the detention is for treatment and may be for a duration of up to 6 months, although this can be extended.


  • patient suffers from a mental disorder
    • he Mental Health Act 2007 has change the definition of Mental Disorders covered by the Mental Health Act
      • now defined as "any disorder or disability of the mind"
        • simplified definition now applies to all sections of the Act
        • four forms of mental disorder (mental illness, mental impairment, severe mental impairment and psychopathic disorder) have disappeared
          • potentially means some people previously excluded are now included e.g. there may be some people with an acquired brain injury who were not covered by the term "mental impairment or severe mental impairment" who could now benefit from the protections of the Act
      • there are two exemptions specifically referred to:
        • Learning Disability
          • a person with learning disability may be only detained if that disability is associated with abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct. This does not, of course, preclude the use of compulsion for people who have another form of mental disorder (such as a mental illness) in addition to their learning disability
          • applies to all those sections that relate to longer-term compulsory treatment or care for a mental disorder (in particular section 3, section 7 (Guardianship), section 17A (Supervised Community Treatment) and forensic sections under Part 3 of the Act)
        • Dependence on alcohol or drugs
          • refers only to dependence and does not exclude the effects of substances, such as intoxication, psychosis and delirium
        • note that the previous exemptions for "promiscuity or other immoral act" have not been included in the amendments made by the 2007 Mental Health Act
          • means that persons diagnosed with paedophilia can be detained in hospital by virtue of that alone


  • it is necessary for the health or safety of the patient or for the protection of other persons, and such treatment cannot be provided unless they are detained under this Section.

Duration is for 6 months, including the day of admission.

Renewal is from the end of the 6 months for periods of 6 months and then for periods of one year

  • In addition to the Responsible Clinician, the written agreement of a second professional is needed to renew section 3. The second professional must
    • come from a different professional discipline compared with the RC
    • be involved with the care of the patient
    • be able to reach independent decisions
    • have sufficient expertise and experience to make a judgement about whether the criteria for detention continue to be met
  • even if the RC disagrees with the view of the 2nd Professional, they should not normally seek to find another professional. In such circumstances the section 3 would not be renewed
    • in very exceptional circumstances where a different opinion is sort, this must be brought to the attention of the hospital managers who are also required to consider and approve the renewal of the section

The patient has the right to appeal to the Mental Health Review Tribunal within the first 6 months and then once a year

  • the Mental Health Act 2007 has stipulated an earlier automatic referral to a Mental Health Review Tribunal (Tribunal) where patients don?t apply themselves and new Tribunal system structure


General Practice Notebook
General Practice Notebook
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