Declaration of interest None.
Aims and method To evaluate patient awareness of the mental health tribunal and identify any association between capacity to request a tribunal and frequency of completed hearings. A cohort of detained patients within a secure hospital were assessed and data for past tribunals evaluated by presence of capacity and mode of application.
Results Of the 65 patients evaluated, 78% were aware of the tribunal’s power to discharge, 14% were aware of its power to recommend leave and 4% were aware of its power to recommend transfer; 12% lacked capacity to request a tribunal. Patients with capacity received more completed hearings per year than those without, both overall (0.58 v. 0.29 per year, P = 0.04) and by patient application (0.45 v. 0.12 per year, P = 0.03).
Clinical implications Hospital managers should ensure that all detained patients have regular assessments of their capacity to request a tribunal and that those who lack capacity are referred to the Secretary of State when it is considered that a tribunal would be in their best interests. Hospital managers should consider referring such cases to the Secretary of State every 12 months.
- Royal College of Psychiatrists