Mental health law briefing 235 – Hospital managers: Are you complying with paragraph 38.8 of The Code of Practice?
The amended Code of Practice includes specific requirements to ensure that hospital managers are doing their job properly.
Paragraph 38.8 provides:
In all cases, the Board (or the equivalent) of the organisation concerned should ensure that the people appointed properly understand their role and the working of the Act. The organisation should ensure that people appointed to a managers’ panel receive suitable training to understand the law, work with patients and professionals, to be able to reach sound judgments and properly record their decisions. This should include training or development in understanding risk assessment and risk management reports, and the need to consider the views of patients, and if the patient agrees, their nearest relative, and if different, carer.
Newly appointed hospital managers should clearly therefore have instruction in the role and ideally have the opportunity to ‘shadow’ some managers’ hearings (with the consent of the patient). Clearly it would also be good practice to ensure that they have clear formal training on the applicable law and how managers’ hearings are to be conducted.
Annual legal updates on mental health law would also seem important to ensure that the managers keep up-to-date.
Notwithstanding the provision of this sort of training, there is always the risk that it is not properly applied. A further sensible step would be to audit the managers, perhaps by having an appropriate expert observer (again with the consent of the patient) attend some hearings.
We can assist with training and auditing. For more information, please contact:
Partner and Head of Healthcare – Providers
T. 020 7222 7040
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.