Mental Health Act - What is a Community Treatment Order?
A Supervised Community Treatment Order is part of the Mental Health Act - it was introduced as part of the 2007 amendments and was designed to enable some service users who are detained under longer sections of the Mental Health Act to be discharged earlier if possible with conditions to support their stability and prevent relapse. It gives a “back up” option of early recall to treatment which can promote early recovery and shorter periods in hospital.
Who would a Community Treatment Order be considered for?
Some service users with a mental disorder have illnesses which are characterised by frequent relapse and frequent readmission in to the hospital. A Supervised Community Treatment Order can help service user s which such illnesses to remain well and stay in the community.
Who can a Community Treatment Order be applied to?
A Community Treatment Order can apply to a service user who is currently detained on section 3, 37 or similar of the Mental Health Act
Who would use a Community Treatment Order?
It is used for certain service user s who are detained under section 3 or equivalent under the Mental Health Act and who have history of disengaging from services, leading to readmission to a hospital. It can help those service users remain well and stable in the community.
How long does a Community Treatment Order last?
In the first instance a Community Treatment Order can last up to 6 months and it can be discharged by the Responsible Clinician sooner than that if it is no longer needed. If it is needed for longer it can be renewed at the end of the 6 month period.
What are the conditions of a Community Treatment Order?
There are two conditions which apply to all Community Treatment Orders:
- The service user must make themselves available to a Responsible Clinician.
- The service user must also make themselves available to a second opinion approved doctor.
A second opinion approved doctor are doctor’s appointed by the Care Quality Commission to review treatment. In addition the Responsible Clinician with the agreement of the Approved Mental Health Professional can add other necessary conditions such as a requirement of the service user to take the medicine or live in particular place.
What happens if someone’s mental health deteriorates whilst they are on a Community Treatment Order?
If a service users mental health deteriorates whilst they are subject to a Community Treatment Order they need to be offered the usual treatment that would be offered to them if they were not subject to the order. In addition there is the option of the Responsible Clinician to recall the service user to hospital to assess and continue the treatment there if necessary.
How long can the Community Treatment Order recall last?
The recall can last up to 72 hours during that period of time the service user will be assessed by Responsible Clinician and if necessary the community treatment order will be revoked and the service user will be subject to section 3 or equivalent under the Mental Health Act.
How does a Community Treatment Order work in practice?
An example of a service user who was subject to a Community Treatment Order service user was a man with history of schizophrenia. He struggled to develop insight into his condition and would frequently discontinue his medication. He would than relapse and require admission to the hospital under the Mental Health Act. With the Community Treatment Order we were able to put in certain conditions for example he should take his medication and living in supported accommodation. This seems to be successful and so far has prevented his readmission back in to hospital.