Bit Technical but.......


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
Can anyone help me please. Ken my husband is still on a section 3 in the local hospital. I have an urgent appointment with the Consultant to try to get her to let him out of hospital grounds with me 3 afternoons each week.

As far as I can ascertain from searching the web Section 17 allows for patients to go off the ward for a period of time subject to signature by the Consultant. This seems to be for a fixed period of one time whilst I want to take him off for a few hours on 3 days of each week. Does this mean that the consultant has to sign each leave off the ward as individual forms and this will have to be done each week. If so this is disasterous for me.

I had been promised I could take him out of hospital grounds each Tuesday to visit my housebound mother by the Consultant. She signed the leave form and I therefore thought that I could take him out each Tuesday. What a shock I got the next Tuesday when I was told she had only signed for the week before, was on holiday and nothing could be done until she came back. None of the ward staff was prepared to ask any other doctor to sign.

This meant that we had to sit in the ward yet again with no privacy, other patients banging walls, moving chairs and demanding things of us - this is normal for us to experience each visiting time on the ward. I am now at breaking point and if my appointment with the Consultant tomorrow does not prove to solve this, then I have decided that my husband must come home. We have been through nearly five months of hell together - him much more than me as he has had to stay there 24 hours a day. He is not violent, never has been! He is a kind, quiet man who went into hospital to have his medication adjusted. I just cannot believe how we have reached our present position.

I wonder what rights I have to bring him home. It seems that to do this through the correct procedures will also take weeks and weeks. The ward sister has a very elastic concept of time spans. Anyone any experience of any of my problems please? xxx TinaT

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Tina,
Why don`t you give the AS Helpline a ring tomorrow,

AS National Helpline 0845 300 0336 8 30 a.m. -7 pm

IF Ken only went in to have his medication adjusted, how on earth can this type of treatment be justified.

Please try to get some advice from AS before you see the consultant.

Love xx


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
Thank you so much for this lifeline. Why didn't I think of this? Probably because I am so used to battling on alone and in isolation. You are a godsend, love and hugs xx TinaT


Registered User
Jan 8, 2007
We are not in exactly the same position as yourself as our mam has not been sectioned, but she is in a secure assesment ward and has been for four and half hellish months to sort medication out. We also found it hard to sit for two hours and have any quality time with mam so we asked the consultant if we could take her out, I do this now everyday we go to the beach, park or just walk round the local area. I don,t know about the consultant having to sign forms because as i said mam isn,t sectioned, but i would like to think there should be some sort of easier agreement to enable you to take your husband out instead of having to get every outing signed for.

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
Hi Tina
Not an expert on this, but just wanted to say how wrong this all seems. My father was on section 2 for a while, but don't know anything about section 3. However I do know there are clear channels for appeals against a sectioning and am sure the AS help line will be able to advise you on the procedure. If your husband isn't violent at all then there really shouldn't be justification for this level of sectioning, I would have thought. Good luck with it all. You really need some good support from experts and AS will be able to give this.
Blue sea


Registered User
Sep 21, 2005
just a quick reply am to tired to see key board, My husband on a section 3 was able to have home visits authorised by consultant and i now have him home full time, hard work but well worth it, to just be able to cuddle up to him each night, he does become agressive but that is par for the ccourse with this bloody illness, so make it plain to the consultant that your aim is for your husband to come home. our consultant is great just hope ypurs listens to you, let me know if i can help you in any way Pam


Volunteer Moderator
Oct 2, 2007
Hello Tina

I’m sorry to hear about this situation, it sounds very distressing.

Having spoken to the AS’s legal and welfare officer, I’ve got the following info in relation to your questions:

Section 17 of the Mental Health Act refers to the Responsible Medical Officer (the doctor in charge of treatment for a patient) granting people leave from a section. Therefore whilst it is likely that an RMO needs to be available in order to grant leave, there should be a process in place for when the official RMO is away. You might want to ask the hospital who the acting RMO is, on such occasions.

You may also want to enquire about whether it is possible to simply extend your husband’s period of leave, depending on how long you would like him to come home for. If they refuse to extend your husband’s leave, it might also be worth asking them why they are refusing to do this.

If you are not happy with a decision that is made, then you could ask the RMO what their appeals system is, and make an appeal.

I hope this helps a little. If you have any other questions you might find it helpful to call the AS legal & welfare helpline on 0207 423 3530 (open Monday to Friday between 2 and 4.30 pm).

Take care