Mental Health Act


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
I have been guilty of naivety in the extreme and my poor husband and I are now suffering because of this. I am posting so that others who may find themselves in a similar position will not be so blindly trusting and silly as I was and will be more aware of what could happen.

Ken was admitted to an EMI assessment ward in early July and placed on a Section 2 of the Mental Health Act. This allowed the hospital to keep him for 28 days and at the time I was told it was in his best interests as legally if he asked to leave and he wasn't on this Section 2, then they would have had to allow him to leave.

After 28 days I was told (not asked!) that he would then be placed on a Section 3. Again I was told that this was the very best course of action to take as it gave us both legal rights. A Section 3 can last up to six months. During this period he can be taken off the section if the Consultant thought it appropriate. As the Consultant had been treating Ken for over a year, I had built up a good, trusting relationship with her and agreed with the Social Worker who was explaining the implications that there would be no problems removing it long before the end of the 6 months period. It was stressed that the great benefit would be that he could not be discharged without a proper care package put in place and paid for entirely by the NH Trust. At the end of six months if he was still on section 3 then a formal review would have to be undertaken before the section 3 could be continued.

What I subsequently found out was that I had effectively no rights whilst he was on this section 3 other than to formally request he be taken off it. To do this I would have to write to the governors and a formal review would have to be set up which would not automatically lead to a release from the sectioning. As I understand it the review board would look at evidence from the ward staff, the Consultant and any other medical team involved in his care and also look at any evidence I could produce to counteract their views. Big guns shooting at a rather small me!!

Whilst he is on a section 3, I cannot take him off the ward to the hospital cafe without a signed permission form from the Consultant. I cannot take him off hospital grounds without a different signed permission form. These permissions are very hard to obtain and have to be negotiated with the Consultant. As the Consultant has a very busy case load it is not easy to arrange appointments to do this and even when agreement to take my husband out for a short period has been made, the forms do not always get signed in time to take him out. This week, without prior consultation with me, one of his 'home visit' days has been suspended and the other day has had the hours out of the hospital cut short! The Hospital Consultant has the right to refuse any request to take him out of the ward and I cannot contest this. I could (theoretically) even be stopped from entering the ward to visit my husband if the ward staff and Consultant decide this.

I love my husband dearly and the only crime I have committed is to have found myself some months ago overwhelmed by the burden of looking after him at the same time as my dearly loved daughter in law was dying of leukaemia and I was having major building work done on our new home. I care deeply for him and I want to do the very best I can for him. I am open and understanding of his condition and would never do anything which would cause any concern for his welfare. I have looked after him, in the main very successfully, for many years and know both him and his illness intimately. Therefore I find myself in an impossible situation where I know how much his visits out mean to him but am powerless to do anything when they are taken away from us. I find this lack of personal freedom intolerable.

Yesterday I heard a harrowing story regarding the new Guardianship Act (this is not the correct title but I am not sure what it is called). A lady whose mother is on an adjoining EMI hospital ward to Ken wanted to take her mother home. She was informed that a meeting had been arranged for her with the consultant. When she arrived at the meeting the hospital solicitor was also present. She was informed that the hospital was applying for Legal Guardianship to prevent her from being able to take her mother home.

I have a formal review meeting on Monday next at the hospital. I was told of this meeting three days ago. The meeting had been arranged for next Monday without consulting me and despite the Ward Manager knowing that I had booked a short break which starts on the same day. I have had to cancel the first day of my holiday (depending on the outcome of the meeting I may have to cancel the rest of the short break) I am so concerned about the outcome that I have arranged for my son and my husband’s elder brother to come to the meeting with me.

All I can say to anyone who is faced with any form of Sectioning under the MHA is to be aware of all its implications and not so trusting and naive as I have been.

Xx TinaT


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Dear Tina

All I can say is I will be rooting for you on Monday. I think what you are referring to is the new Mental Capacity Act, and all I can say is it seems to be turning into a bag of worms and is being used in ways that I don't think the drafters ever envisioned. I will say this though - although you have heard one horror story this does not mean this will happen to you. You/we have no way of knowing the "back story" of that situation - there may have been very good reasons for the hospital taking the course of action they did.

Take care


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Dear Tina, once again what a nightmare for you and Ken.

Fingers crossed that things will not be quite as bad as you fear on Monday. We shall all be thinking of you.

Thank you for informing our members as to what "can happen" in these situations. Forewarned is forearmed sometimes.

Good luck, but it pains me to have to say that. You should not need to be going through this. Love n'hugs


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I will say this though - although you have heard one horror story this does not mean this will happen to you. You/we have no way of knowing the "back story" of that situation - there may have been very good reasons for the hospital taking the course of action they did.

I also agree with Jennifer .

Good luck with Monday.

do you have any concerns in the treatment your husband receiving , am asking this because am wondering how his getting on , has they been an improvement since his been in they compared to when he first arrived they

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Tina,

I can only imagine what you are going through. It is the most gross of insults to take away our right to have imput into the care of someone we love.

I accept the medics have a higher level of professional expertise but, unless a person is at risk of being a danger to himself and others, believe the next of kin should be respected enough to have some say in future care.

I do hope it doesn`t turn out as badly as you fear on Monday. You have had such a long struggle to be listened to on Ken`s behalf, I can understand you feeling you have been betrayed.

Take care

Love xx


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
To answer you Margarita about am I satisfied with his treatment, well, all the usual things happen which happen to others whose loved ones are in care home type situations - 5 pairs of glasses lost, wearing other peoples shoes, clothing etc., but he is kept clean, fed, warm and safe and very importantly all the various workers treat him with respect and kindness. With regards to his condition, he has sadly got worse. His speech and thought patterns are now very confused but he has moments of lucidity when he knows exactly were he is and hates it. He is frightened of all the noise, shouting, banging, bad language and the occasional violence which other poor sufferers show But he is still the same kind and gentle man he always was. Thanks for all your concern everyone. I wanted to make us all aware to the problems of sectioning which are not apparent on the surface. xx TinaT