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Assessment or medical treatment for persons detained under the Mental Health Act 1983

  • Organisations we regulate

This regulated activity relates to the treatment of people who are detained in, or recalled to, hospital for assessment and/or medical treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983.

This includes people whose initial detention was under another enactment but which has taken effect as a Mental Health Act detention.

Types of service that should be registered for this regulated activity

This regulated activity only applies to the use of the Mental Health Act in hospitals, rather than its use in any other setting, so it does not apply to locations that are not hospitals. It does not apply to prisons, community or residential treatment settings for substance misuse or community-based mental health services. It excludes detention under sections 135 or 136 of that Act where people are removed to a designated place of safety (usually a hospital but which, under exceptional circumstances, can be a police cell).

If you plan to provide a hospital for mental health or learning disability, it is highly likely you will need to register for this regulated activity.

You may need to register for this regulated activity if you plan to provide acute services.


This regulated activity includes the use of short term, emergency holding powers under Section 5 of the Mental Health Act. It therefore also applies to hospital services other than specialist mental health inpatient services, such as acute hospitals, where the Mental Health Act could be used to detain patients for short periods under temporary arrangements.


This regulated activity does not apply to assessment or treatment by a medical practitioner appointed to provide a second opinion. This means that treatment for the purposes of Part 4 of the 1983 Act in giving a certificate under section 57, 58 or 58A of the Act is exempt from registration. This is commonly referred to as treatment or assessment by a SOAD.

Other regulated activities you may need to register for

If you apply for this regulated activity and you also provide treatment for persons who are not detained or not liable to be detained, you may also need to apply for the activity of ‘treatment of disease, disorder or injury’.

Other regulated activities covered by this one

If you are registered for this activity and its delivery includes:

  • personal care
  • nursing care

you would not need to additionally apply for those activities.

Medical treatment in relation to mental health and this regulated activity

Medical treatment, only for this regulated activity, is defined in the Mental Health Act 1983 as including nursing, psychological intervention and specialist mental health habilitation, rehabilitation and care offered to alleviate, or prevent a worsening of, a mental disorder or one or more of its symptoms or manifestations.

Last updated:
05 February 2019