Guardianship

A lesser known and possibly underused section of the Act allows a patient over 16 years old who is suffering from mental disorder to be placed under the supervision of a guardian, either a named individual or the local social services authority. Recommendation is made by two doctors, one approved, and the application is made by the nearest relative or an approved social worker. The order lasts 6 months and may be renewed for a further 6 months in the first instance and subsequently for 1 year at a time. A guardian may, for example, require the patient to reside at a specified place (not a hospital); give access, at the patient's residence, to any doctor, approved social worker, or other specified person; or attend at specified places and times for medical treatment, occupation, education, and training (but cannot compel the patient to accept the treatment offered).

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