Skip to main content

Compulsorily Detained Psychiatric Patients

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 56535, tabled on 15 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reasons individuals who are detained under certain circumstances of section 37 of the Mental Health Act are detained without a tariff or plan for their future.

Answered on

26 October 2021

A hospital order (section 37 of the Mental Health Act) authorises detention under the Mental Health Act for an offender who is suffering from a mental disorder, for as long as treatment in hospital is necessary and appropriate.

The order is made by a court as an alternative to a prison sentence, where the court thinks it appropriate that an individual should be diverted away from custody to hospital for treatment. There is no minimum term to be served for the purpose of punishment so the period of detention will be determined by the patient’s responsible clinician or the Tribunal based on the need for ongoing treatment in hospital.

As part of the planned reforms set out in the Mental Health Act White Paper, we want to ensure that all patients, including those subject to section 37 of the Act, have a high-quality care and treatment plan in place within days of their admission. This plan should set out the patient's needs, how these will be met whilst they are detained under the Mental Health Act, the objectives of detention and any proposed timescales before improvement might be expected.