Section 5

  • This Section allows healthcare workers other than Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) to detain patients.
  • The individual concerned must be an inpatient
  • The most commonly used are Sections 5.2 and 5.4
  • Section 5.2 is for use by doctors and allows detention for up to 72 hours.
  • Section 5.4 is for use by a nurse of ‘prescribed class’ – this is usually a nurse with specific training in Mental Health or in Learning Difficulties – and allows detention for up to 6 hours. It is a common error to believe that all nurses can detain a patient under Section 5.4
  • Neither can be extended.
  • Consent from the patient is still required for treatment/investigations unless they have been shown to lack capacity to make that decision.
  • Section 5.4 expires as soon as a doctor arrives to review the patient. Subsequently, the patient may choose to remain as a voluntary patient or the doctor can detain them under Section 5.2
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