If you are in hospital under section 3 or 37, your responsible clinician can apply for you to be put on a community treatment order.
A community treatment order means you can leave hospital and be treated in the community so long as you follow certain conditions. We discuss these conditions with you before you leave hospital.
If you become unwell, or you don’t follow your conditions, you may be asked to attend a community team base for a review.
If we can’t find a way to make your community treatment order work, or you are very unwell, you might be recalled to hospital.
You have the right to see an independent mental health advocate if you want help or advice.
Who decides you can have a community treatment order
Your responsible clinician can arrange a community treatment order if they are sure you can get the treatment you need in the community.
An approved mental health professional needs to agree that a community treatment order is appropriate.
What do community treatment order conditions involve?
Community treatment order conditions include:
- Seeing your responsible clinician if your community treatment order is going to be renewed
- Seeing the second opinion appointed doctor if asked
Other conditions might include living at a particular address, taking your medication at a certain place, and staying in touch with your care team.
Your responsible clinician will discuss your conditions with you while you are in hospital. If you want, you can ask your nearest relative or carer to be involved.
Before you leave hospital, we will explain your rights and give you a copy of your conditions. Ask your nurse or care coordinator if you do not have them.
We need your consent to give you medication. If you are too unwell to give consent, or you refuse to give consent, your doctor needs the agreement of a “second opinion appointed doctor” (SOAD).
This is an independent doctor who checks your views and wishes have been taken in to account, and ensures your treatment is appropriate.
If you refuse medication, you might need to go back to hospital. This is called being “recalled”.
What if your community treatment order doesn’t work out?
Speak to your care co-ordinator if you feel unwell, or you are struggling with any of the conditions of your community treatment order. Your responsible clinician might be able to change your conditions.
If you are very unwell, you might be recalled to a community team base for a review. This means we assess your mental health and discuss ways to make your community treatment order work for you.
If that doesn’t work out, or you are very unwell, your responsible clinician might recall you to hospital.
Recall to hospital
Going back to hospital is a last resort. This only happens if we can’t find another way to make your community treatment work or your responsible clinician feels you are too unwell to be treated in the community.
If you are recalled, your care coordinator will give or post you a recall notice, or leave it at your address.
You can make your own way back to hospital or ask a friend or relative to come with you. If you are very unwell, an ambulance or the police might bring you back to hospital.
When you arrive, a nurse will explain what is happening and answer any questions. To start with, you can be kept in hospital for up to 72 hours (three days).
If you are recalled, the hospital team will assess your mental health and discuss your treatment options with you and your community team.
If we have serious concerns, the senior doctor on the ward and the approved mental health professional might decide your community treatment order is not working and you should stay in hospital.
If you are not willing to stay in hospital voluntarily, you may be kept in hospital under section 3.
How long does a community treatment order last?
To start with, your community treatment order lasts up to six months. It can end if your responsible clinician decides it is no longer needed, or you appeal and it is agreed that it should end.
Before your community treatment order ends, you will be invited meet your responsible clinician.
If they think it you need to stay on a community treatment order, and it is the first time it has been extended, they can extend it for up to six months.
After that, your responsible clinician can extend your community treatment order for up to a year at a time.
All extended community treatment orders are reviewed by the associate hospital managers.
How are extended community treatment orders reviewed?
Associate hospital managers are independent of South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.
They are responsible for making sure we use the Mental Health Act correctly.
If your community treatment order is extended, the associate hospital managers will invite you to the hearing (meeting) and receive reports from your responsible clinician and care coordinator.
If you do not attend the hearing, the associate hospital managers will look at reports from your doctor and care coordinator, and decide if your community treatment order should continue.
Once they have made a decision, you will be told in person if you attend the hearing, or by letter afterwards if you do not attend.
If you expect to be discharged from your community treatment order, try to attend the hearing as you can only be discharged if you are there in person.
If you are discharged and do not attend, the associate hospital managers will invite you to another hearing, but this means your discharge will be delayed.
How to appeal
If you disagree with the conditions of your community treatment order, or you want it to end, you or your nearest relative can appeal