Do nurses know how to use the Mental Health Act?

Illustration of nurses thinking

Care Quality Commission finds legislation is not used as intended due to lack of staff awareness

  • RCN says nurses need time to learn how to advocate for service users
  • Concerns over lack of understanding when applying Mental Health Act Code of Practice
  • Some healthcare providers have not yet updated training to reflect 2015 code

Mental health nurses in England must be given more time for training in the use of the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983 if they are to advocate effectively for people under their care, warns the RCN.

Under the act, people may be formally detained in hospital in the interests of their own health or safety, or for the protection of other people.

They can also be treated in the community, but are subject to recall to hospital for assessment, treatment or


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