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Code of practice (Mental Health Act 1983)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The Act makes it clear that professionals, including doctors, are expected to follow the guidance of the Code of Practice, or explain why they haven't done so.

  • expected to take account of a number of issues, the guiding principles, when making decisions
    • the Principles:
      • Purpose
        • decisions under the Act must be taken with a view to minimising the undesirable effects of mental disorder, by maximising the safety and well-being (mental and physical) of patients, promoting their recovery and protecting other people from harm
      • Least restriction
        • people taking action without a patient's consent must attempt to keep to a minimum the restrictions they impose on the patient's liberty, having regard to the purpose for which the restrictions are imposed
      • Respect
        • people taking decisions under the Act must recognise and respect the diverse needs, values and circumstances of each patient, including their race, religion, culture, gender, age, sexual orientation and any disability
          • must consider the patient's views, wishes and feelings (whether expressed at the time or in advance), so far as they are reasonably ascertainable, and follow those wishes wherever practicable and consistent with the purpose of the decision
          • must be no unlawful discrimination
      • Participation
        • patients must be given the opportunity to be involved, as far as is practicable in the circumstances, in planning, developing and reviewing their own treatment and care to help ensure that it is delivered in a way that is as appropriate and effective for them as possible
        • involvement of carers, family members and other people who have an interest in the patient's welfare should be encouraged (unless there are particular reasons to the contrary) and their views taken seriously
      • Effectiveness, efficiency and equity
        • people taking decisions under the Act must seek to use the resources available to them and to patients in the most effective, efficient and equitable way, to meet the needs of patients and achieve the purpose for which the decision was taken

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