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Monitoring the Mental Health Act in 2010/11

The Care Quality Commission’s annual report on the exercise of its functions in keeping under review the operation of the Mental Health Act 1983

The Mental Health Act requires CQC to report annually to Parliament on our work in monitoring the use of the Act in England. This publication sets out our findings and recommendations in relation to the use of the Act from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.

It has key implications for professional staff advising and operating the Act, including Mental Health Act administrators, boards and senior managers of mental health providers, and commissioning bodies. It is also relevant to representative groups of patients and carers.

It is based on our findings from the visits that our MHA Commissioners have made to services and patients, as well as the work of our Second Opinion Appointed Doctors. The aim of the MHA Commissioner visits is to identify where the Act is not being used correctly. As a result, our visits often highlight more problems than positive practice. The visits are not assessments of the overall standards of care and treatment in the hospital. This work is carried out by our compliance inspection teams. In Part 1, we explain how our inspection teams work with our MHA Commissioners and use their findings as part of our overall check on the quality of services.

Similarly, this annual report highlights more problems and concerns with the operation of the Act than examples of good practice. It is not intended to give a rounded picture of mental health services for patients subject to the Act. We focus on what we think are the key issues in relation to the Act that providers and practitioners should be aware of and act on where necessary.