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Mental Health Act 1983: NHS trusts

  • Organisations we regulate

The Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) and its Code of Practice (2015) applies to all providers that are registered with CQC to assess and treat patients who are detained under the MHA.

We are responsible for reviewing and monitoring how these organisations apply the MHA when providing services.

Our primary monitoring activities involve visits by MHA reviewers, to meet with patients and look at the day-to-day operation of powers and duties under the MHA. The frequency of visits varies, up to a maximum period of two years.

We may also carry out a focused MHA monitoring programme to gather information to highlight local, regional or national trends. These visits will look at specific themes, patient groups or service types. Our primary aim is to identify current practice and areas for improvement and, where there is limited national data, gather evidence to inform future policy positions.

If we identify concerns on MHA visits, this may trigger further inspection or monitoring activity.

As well as monitoring the use of the MHA, CQC has other duties under this Act:

  • we are responsible for administering the Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD) service
  • we have the power to review the decisions of high security hospital managers over withholding patients' mail
  • we have the power to investigate if somebody complains about how a provider has used the MHA

Any information we gather from our MHA activities will inform our monitoring and inspection activities. When we inspect your service, we will use the overall assessment framework for healthcare services and the specific prompts for specialist mental health care. Inspection teams will assess how you apply the MHA and review the way you discharge your duties under the MHA overall.

During an inspection, we will take account of any activity under the MHA when we make judgements.

Read more about how we monitor the use of the MHA.

Last updated:
05 April 2019