Mental Health - DAC Beachcroft
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Mental Health

The law affecting mental health services is constantly changing and has been a focus for regulators and legal challenges. Maintaining service user safety and wellbeing within the relevant legal frameworks can be problematic and when incidents do occur they can be particularly sensitive. Navigating the interface between the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act can be a minefield for providers, as can managing new requirements to share information as part of the integrated health and social care agenda.

Combine this with evolving case law in relation to Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty, the increasing management of mental health patients in the community, other non-Mental Health Trust settings, and the significant challenges for providers and commissioners of mental health services in ensuring high quality mental health services.

Providers must be well-informed and advised if they are to reduce untoward incidents, claims, complaints, CQC criticism or ICO action. A lack of timely specialist advice can have a significant impact on patient care and workforce morale, as well as financial costs for an organisation.

What we do

We work closely with mental health providers, commissioners and professionals in navigating the legislative and regulatory frameworks within which mental health services operate. Legal advice on the complex and overlapping legal frameworks assists mental health services in maintaining safe patient care that will withstand legal, regulatory and public scrutiny.

In addition to organisational policy and governance advice, this includes advice on complex case reviews, serious incident investigations, claims, complaints and CQC scrutiny.

Where court involvement is necessary, be it Court of Protection proceedings, inquests, or FTT hearings, we have extensive experience of dealing with high profile challenges in all jurisdictions. Recent health and welfare cases we have dealt with involved issues such as forcible treatment of an anorexic patient, management of pregnant mental health patients who resist intervention, and the legality of 24 hour supervision of community patients.

What we are known for

Mental health service providers and commissioners require 24 hour access to specialist, responsive and practical legal advisers who understand their business. We understand the issues, the overlap and contradictions between the legal provisions. We can help to identify weak areas and respond quickly when something goes wrong, which can result in solutions with significant cost savings. We understand the sector and are seen as a first port of call for distress purchases and innovation/business development.

We also provide specialist approved training to health and social care professionals including Approved Clinicians, AMHPs, Mental Health Assessors and Best Interest Assessors.

Detailed elements of our services

We offer a local service to NHS and independent sector Mental Health providers and commissioners across a national team. Our Mental Health services include:

  • Mental Health Act advice
  • Mental Capacity Act advice
  • The interface between the MHA and MCA
  • Deprivation of Liberty and associated Court of Protection applications
  • Advice and representation at Mental Health Tribunals and Hospital Managers hearings
  • Inquests
  • DPA/confidentiality/information governance
  • Child protection and safeguarding/DoL in childrens' services
  • Adult safeguarding
  • Responsible commissioner disputes
  • S.117 aftercare
  • Care Act 2014 advice
  • Expertise in cases involving community and/or social care

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