You are here

Information for people subject to community treatment orders (CTOs)

Categories:
  • Public

Find out about your rights in relation to consent to medication and electro-convulsive therapy (ECT).

Medication

You may be required to take medication prescribed for you by your doctor if you are on a community treatment order (CTO) under the Mental Health Act.

There are rules in place, called consent to treatment, that cover whether you should take it. These rules also ensure that you understand why you need to take the treatment, how it will be given to you and possible side-effects.

When you are first given medication for your mental illness, your doctor should:

  • explain what the medication is for.
  • tell you about any side-effects.
  • ask for your consent.

What happens next?

After one month, if you still give consent to continue taking your medication, your doctor will fill in a certificate to confirm this.

However, if you are too unwell to give consent, your doctor must have the agreement of a Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD) for your treatment to continue.

If the SOAD agrees that you should continue with all of your medication, or just some of it, they will fill in a certificate confirming this.

Can I change my mind?

You can change your mind at anytime – even after you have agreed to continue taking your medication.

You should talk to your doctor before you make any decisions.

What if I do not give my consent?

If you refuse your medication while on a community treatment order, your doctor cannot force you to take it.

However, if your doctor believes that you may become unwell without taking the treatment, they can recall you back to hospital.

 Additionally, consent to treatment rules may not apply to you if:

  • your life is at risk.
  • your health will deteriorate without the treatment.
  • you are a danger to yourself or others.

Electro-convulsive therapy

If you are receiving treatment as part of a community treatment order (CTO) and you are recalled to hospital, your doctor may recommend electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) to you.

If you are receiving treatment as part of a community treatment order (CTO) and you are recalled to hospital, your doctor may recommend electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) to you.

Your doctor will give you information on what it is and why they think you should have it.

ECT can only be given to you with your consent, except in very urgent circumstances.

If at first you give consent to receive ECT and then decide against it, you can change your mind at any time.

We have produced a leaflet detailing your rights regarding consent to ECT. This leaflet is available in standard and easy to read formats below.

 

What if I don’t want to receive ECT?

You can refuse to receive ECT. You’ll need to put this in writing and sign it in front of a witness, who will also need to sign it, and give it to a member of your treating team. This is called an advanced decision to refuse treatment.

What if I cannot give my full consent?

If you are unable to give consent, your doctor must tell us if they think that you need to receive it. 

We will arrange a visit from an independent expert known as a Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD) who will decide whether you should receive ECT or not.

If the SOAD doesn't agree, your doctor cannot give you ECT.

I am under 18 years old - what are my rights?

If you are under 18, both your doctor and the SOAD must agree that you should receive ECT before it can be given. This applies even if you have already given your consent.

We have produced a leaflet detailing your rights regarding consent to ECT.

This leaflet is available in both standard and easy read formats below.

Independent Mental Health Advocates

You have a legal right to receive support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate if you are detained under the Mental Health Act.

These advocates help you get information that relates to your particular circumstances under the Mental Health Act.

As well as providing information, they can also help to ensure that you participate fully in decisions regarding your care and treatment.

How do I get support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate?

There are several different services providing Independent Mental Health advocacy across England.

The hospital where you are receiving treatment should provide you with information about how to contact your nearest independent mental health advocacy service.

A member of your treating treating team You can also get more information from a member of your treating team.

 

Last updated:
29 May 2017