Mental Health Act: the rise in use of the MHA to detain people in England

Care Quality Commission
Publication year:
Place of publication:
Newcastle upon Tyne

This review looks at the rise in use of the Mental Health Act (MHA) to treat people in hospitals and gathers the views of patients, carers and staff on the possible reasons for this increase. The review involved site visits to NHS trusts, independent mental health service providers and local authorities; and engagement with service users. It identifies four areas that that might influence the rates of detention across four broad groups: changes in mental health service provision and bed management, including more frequent re-admissions and loss of specialist community teams; demographic and social change; legal and policy developments influencing practice; and data reporting and data quality. The report also includes examples of what sites have done to monitor the impact of the MHA, counter the rising rates of detention and use information about the MHA to improve services for patients. It concludes there is no single cause for the rise in rates of detention. It argues that action is needed to address underlying problems and that reform of mental health legislation on its own is unlikely to reduce the rate of detention. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
hospitals, compulsory treatment, compulsory detention, mental health law, severe mental health problems, hospital admission;
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