Your rights around treatment when you are restricted under the Mental Health Act

Page last updated: 5 April 2023

When you are detained or placed on a Community Treatment Order (CTO), your doctor must check if you agree to your treatment or not, or if you are too unwell to agree to treatment.

Your doctor must:

  • explain what the treatment is for
  • tell you if there could be side effects
  • ask if you agree to the treatment
  • make a record of whether you agree to have the treatment or not (or whether you are too unwell to agree)

Your doctor may then need to ask us for a Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD). A SOAD is an independent consultant psychiatrist who will check whether the recommended treatment is appropriate and that your views and rights have been considered.

If you agree to the treatment

If your doctor thinks you are well enough to make this decision for yourself, they will fill in paperwork confirming that you agree to the treatment. This is called writing a “Certificate”, and you will not need to see a SOAD.

You can change your mind about taking treatment at any time.

If you do not agree to the treatment, or are too unwell to agree

Your doctor must consider carefully whether to continue without your agreement, give alternative treatment, or stop treatment.

If your doctor decides to continue treating you, they may need to ask for a SOAD to carry out a second opinion.

The SOAD will contact your care team to arrange a conversation with you.

SOADs may be arranged at times when you are detained or when you are on a community treatment order (CTO). If you refuse your medication while on a CTO, your doctor cannot force you to take it - but if your doctor believes that you may become unwell without taking the treatment, they can recall you to hospital.

The SOAD will decide whether some, all or none of your treatment is appropriate. If the SOAD approves your treatment to start or continue, they will fill in a certificate that says what treatment you can be given.