When will this order be used?
You can only be made subject to a Community Treatment Order if you are already on a section 3 or a section 37.
Your Responsible Clinician will make the Community Treatment Order if they feel that this is a necessary part of managing your discharge back into the community. This order is often viewed as an additional safety measure to make it easier for the community mental health services to monitor your compliance with medication after you leave hospital. It also gives your Responsible Clinician the power to recall you to hospital if they suspect that your mental state is deteriorating.
Your Responsible Clinician may consider using a Community Treatment Order in cases where:
- You have a history of coming in and out of hospital;
- You have a history of stopping medication and/or disengaging from community mental health services; or
- You have expressed a view that you do not want to take your medication after leaving hospital.
How long does the order last?
Your Community Treatment Order will last for up to 6 months initially.
Towards the end of the 6 months your doctor will consider whether you still meet the criteria under section 17A. They can renew your Community Treatment Order for a further 6 month period and then on a yearly basis thereafter.
What happens if I am recalled
In the event that your Responsible Clinician decides to recall you to hospital, they will send you a formal recall notice. This is a letter informing you that you should return to hospital. Often this would be the hospital where you were initially detained.
In some cases, the community mental health team will also obtain a warrant under section 135 of the Mental Health Act 1983 to enable to police to remove you from your home and bring you into hospital.
Once you are readmitted to hospital, your Responsible Clinician will have 72 hours to assess you. During that time, they will decide whether you can be released back under the Community Treatment Order, or whether you need to stay in hospital for longer.
If your Responsible Clinician decides that you need to stay in hospital for longer, they will revoke your Community Treatment Order. This means that you are back on your original section and have to stay in hospital.
Who can discharge me?
You can be discharged by:
- Your Responsible Clinician
- The Mental Health Tribunal
- The Hospital Managers
- Your Nearest Relative
Your Responsible Clinician can discharge you from section at anytime.
You can appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal at any time during your order. You may only have one Tribunal in each period of detention. This means you have one appeal in the first 6 months, one in the second 6 months and one every year should you remain on the Community Treatment Order.
The Tribunal is independent of the hospital and made up of a panel of 3 people:
- A lawyer (Judge)
- A psychiatrist
- Specialist member
After reviewing the evidence, they can discharge you either immediately or defer to a future date. They may also adjourn for further information. The Tribunal may decide not to discharge the section.
You can also appeal your section to the Hospital Managers. You can apply at any time during your order. They have the power to discharge you from section or adjourn your case for further information.
Your nearest relative may order your discharge from section. This discharge can be stopped by the doctor in your case if they think you might act in a way that is dangerous to yourself or other people. They have 72 hours from when the order is received to make their decision. If the doctor does bar their application for discharge, a Hospital Managers hearing will take place to consider the case. Your Nearest Relative will also have their own right to appeal to the Tribunal. They may only request your discharge once during a 6 month period.
Will I need to take medication?
You cannot be treated without your consent whilst you are on a Community Treatment Order. This means that your care team cannot forcefully administer medication if you refuse to take it.
However, you may find that the Responsible Clinician decides to recall you if you refuse to take your medication. Once in hospital, your care team can treat you without your consent.
How we can help you…
If you have been detained on section 17A Mental Health Act 1983 and require advice, please call our mental health team who will be happy to assist you.