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Mental health law briefing 237 – Seclusion and long term segregation in practice

The National Association of Psychiatric Intensive Care and Low Secure Units (NAPICU) has recently issued a position statement reinforcing the assessment and monitoring requirements applicable to the use of seclusion and long term segregation when such is being delivered in an Extra Care Area (ECA) and/or in more ‘traditional’ single room environments.

The position statement issued by NAPICU confirms that when seclusion is being administered in a designated area that is not in itself a locked or lockable room (ECA for this purpose but see the statement itself for their definition), Practitioners will need to treat this as seclusion and comply with the relevant monitoring, supervision and review requirements stipulated in chapter 26 of the Mental Health Act Code of Practice.

The guidance statement further provides that where seclusion in an ECA extends beyond the 72 hour period, the Administrating Practitioners should consider the degree to which the person’s care and treatment amounts to long term segregation (as defined within chapter 26 of the MHA Code of Practice) and monitor/record accordingly.

The statement goes on to say that when seclusion/segregation utilises a combination of both traditional seclusion in a room and seclusion in an ECA, that, when in the room, the patient must be monitored and assessed as if secluded.

A copy of the guidance note can be found here:

Whilst the guidance note does not in and of itself carry the same legal weight as the Mental Health Act Code of Practice, it does accord with the Code and providers of services that include the use of segregation and seclusion facilities are encouraged to review their practice in accordance with this guidance note and the Code more generally.


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP 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.

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