A case for appropriate treatment?

Since the “Treatability Clause was removed from the Mental Health Act in 2007 and the phrase ” Appropriate treatment must be available” replaced it we have to consider what is “appropriate treatment”? 

For example can detention alone be appropriate treatment?

In the case of   R(Home Secretary) v MHRT (2004) this matter was ruled on.

It concerned a person alleged to have a psychopathic disorder. Both the medical team and the court felt that in the community he was extremely dangerous. The question was, was he treatable? He was deriving no benefit from treatment programmes. However, it was felt that he could cope in the structured hospital environment.

The Court held that this was enough. The Tribunal accepted that hospital could prevent deterioration by his continuing in custody. Having accepted that factual proposition it was bound to conclude that the condition was susceptible to treatment as it would prevent deterioration of the symptoms of mental disorder were he suffering from a mental disorder

What can we foresee as the implications of such a legal precedent? How will this type of detention impact on our wards? At what point can the detained person hope for discharge?If it is detention alone that prevents the worsening of a disorder will the person ever be fit for discharge?

I would love to hear your views on this case. If there is enough interest I will post another legal and ethical poser soon.




3 thoughts on “A case for appropriate treatment?

  1. You raise the issue that most people were worried about happening with the MHA amendments. Was the man on a hospital order or a civil detention? Is mental health law resulting in mental health professionals becoming social police. In terms of criminal law you can not be imprisoned for something you may do in the future. This will have serious implications for mentally disordered offenders as society becomes more risk adverse. It will be interesting to know if the persons solicitor appeals. Time will tell whether CTOs will be used to try to control high risk people in the community, as the case highlighted shows that wards will quickly become silted up.

    The other point to make is that diagnosis is more encompassing, sexual deviancy being one. Where will it stop?

  2. I infer from Simon that detention is treatment – doesn’t this simply mean that the treatability cause is redundant/impotent? What purpose does it serve?

  3. Thanks for your interest Carl and Tony. Carl in answer to your question the person was detained under the mental health act. It is unlikely that CTOs (Community Treatment Orders) will ever be used to control high risk people in the community but may be used to effect quicker return to hospital. The issue you raise regarding diagnosis is already an issue as in the MHA 2007 ammendments it could be construed that paedophilia is now a mental health issue. Tony your inference that detention in itself can be treatment appears to be correct. As I said in the first blog the treatability clause was removed except, in Scotland, and no longer exists. The purpose I believe it served was that people could not be detained for no benefit to them. If a person can be detained without the prospect of recovery at what point might they be freed?

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