In the event that a patient in the community requires admission to hospital for emergency medical treatment, but refuses due to mental health condition, detention under The Act may become necessary if all criteria are met.

Examples of this may include:

  • intentional overdose
  • self-harm
  • medical illness in a patient suffering from severe cognitive impairment
  • medical illness related to recreational substances, including psychosis etc.

In case of potentially life threatening medical illness requiring treatment in ED or AAU:

  • EDC will allow fort prompt treatment.
  • EDC should be completed by a GP to avoid delaying admission to the general hospital.

GP and specialist mental health services should arrange for review of EDC at first opportunity.

Section 243 of The Act permits emergency medical (not psychiatric) treatment of patients who are already detained under the Mental Health Act, if certain criteria are met.

Sedation prior to hospital admission should be avoided, however:

  • Patients can give informed consent for oral medication.
  • Emergency medication may be administered without consent under the common law.

Transport to hospital:

  • Ambulance transport recommended in a medical emergency.
  • Ambulance transport required if patient has been sedated, with police escort if necessary.

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 28/05/2021

Author(s): Julia Ferrari, Joe McGhee, Duncan Westall, William McFadden, Heather Tainsh , Susan Sutherland, Marie White , Anne Cook, Justin McNicholl, Douglas Armstrong, Dr Nabila Muzaffar, Dr Stuart Affleck, Dr David Cumming, Andrew Angus, Jackie Maher, Rose Mills, Vincent Hughes..