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Section 3 – Admission for Treatment

Why am I on a Section 3?

A team of health professionals assessed your mental health and decided that the best way to provide the care and treatment you need is to admit you to hospital under Section 3 for treatment. The team of professionals would be an Approved Mental Health Professional known as an AMHP and two doctors. One doctor is Section 12 approved and has specialist experience in the treatment and diagnosis of mental illness and the other will be a registered practitioner usually a doctor who knows you, such as your GP.

How long does it last and what happens next?

You can be kept in hospital for up to six months at first so that you can be given the treatment you need.

The mental health professional in charge of your care and treatment under the MHA is known as the Responsible Clinician or RC.

If your responsible clinician thinks you need to stay in hospital for longer than six months, they can renew your section for another six months, and then for up to a year at a time.

Your RC can discharge you from section at any time if you no longer require to be sectioned.

Can I be medicated against my will?

Yes. Medication can be given to you with or without your consent. However, your consent will always be sought. Your responsible clinician and other hospital staff will talk to you about any medication that you need for your mental health problem.

After three months, if you do not want the medicine you are being given, an independent doctor called a SOAD (Second Opinion Appointed Doctor) will talk to you and to staff who know you. They will decide what medicine you can be given and except in an emergency, no other medicine can be given to you without your agreement.

Can I get leave?

Your responsible clinician can decide to give you leave (also known as Section 17 leave).

How can I appeal?

You can apply to the Mental Health Tribunal to discharge you from detention. You can do this once during each period you are detained for. However, if you haven’t applied on your own behalf during the first six months of detention the hospital will refer your case to the tribunal.

You can also ask the Hospital Managers to discharge you from detention. You can do this at any time. Hospital Managers are an independent group of people, who are separate from the hospital. Their job is to ensure that the Mental Health Act is being correctly applied and that service users’ rights under the Act are being upheld.

For help with an appeal speak to a member of the hospital staff or to an advocate.

What are my rights?

You have certain rights when you are in hospital. These include the right to:

  • Information about your section and the reasons for detention
  • Information about consent to treatment
  • Information about your rights of appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal
  • Information about how to contact a suitably qualified solicitor
  • Information about your right to appeal to the Hospital Managers
  • Information on how to obtain the help and support of an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA)
  • Correspondence and visitors
  • Information on how to make a complaint
  • Information about safeguarding
  • Information about the Care Quality Commission

The Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice

The MHA Code of Practice should be followed by professionals who are involved in your care and treatment. The Code of Practice provides guidance to health professionals about the MHA and is also intended to be helpful to you, your family, carers, representatives, friends, advocates and anyone else who supports you. A copy of the code should be available on the ward for you to see.