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Health bosses defend their record on mental health
HEALTH bosses in Yorkshire say “no one is in hospital who shouldn’t be” after it emerged the correct procedures for sectioning mental health patients were not followed.
Yorkshire and the Humber Strategic Health Authority (SHA) are among four strategic health authorities in the UK who wrongly delegated their responsibility to give final approval to any request from a doctor to have a patient sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
The discovery has prompted emergency retrospective legislation to be rushed through parliament to ensure the process was within the law.
A spokesman for Yorkshire and the Humber SHA said the slip was due to a “technical irregularity involving doctors” and not the “validity of the assessments themselves”.
The spokesman said: “We are confident that all the proper clinical processes were gone through when these patients were detained. They were detained by medically qualified doctors.
“There is also no suggestion that they have made incorrect diagnoses or decisions about the treatment that patients need. No one is in hospital who shouldn’t be and no patients have suffered because of this.”
The SHA also confirmed the Department of Health has taken action to address the approval process.
It said: “Local areas putting in place emergency action to approve the doctors with immediate effect. As of Friday evening, all the doctors involved have now been properly approved.”
Originally all cases of sectioning had to be approved by the Secretary of State, however this power was delegated to SHAs in 2002. Four out of the ten UK SHAs, including NHS Yorkshire and the Humber, asked regional mental health trusts to carry out the validation and approval process for them, but did not ask for it be referred back to the SHAs for final confirmation.