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MH Act section 17, leave of absence from hospital

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Principal WRO - Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation

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Joined: 16 June 2010

For context, the following webpage gives a summary about last year’s Supreme Court decision that ruled people who had been hospital inpatients on a MHA section 37/41 who were discharged into the community were being deprived of their liberty.

The issue we’re facing is that NHS England/MoJ are recalling people in this situation back to hospital and admitting them as inpatients while they review to see if they can then be allowed back to their homes in the community under section 17 “leave of absence from hospital”.  People who have been admitted to hospital under section 37/41 in our area have, after discharge from hospital, been living in supported accommodation with supervision and monitoring. It’s this supervision and monitoring that the ruling says is causing the deprivation of liberty.

The first client I’ve come across has been living in the community for over eight years but, yesterday, was recalled to the hospital, admitted as an inpatient at around 11:30am and then allowed to go home on s17 leave about three hours later. They didn’t stay overnight and are now back in the home they’ve lived in for several years but technically they are now a hospital inpatient and, according to the hospital census, will be “occupying a bed” even though they aren’t physically there. If asked, the hospital will say the person is a hospital inpatient but I would argue they aren’t being maintained or receiving treatment in a hospital or similar institution so their benefits shouldn’t be subject to hospital rules.

Has anyone else encountered this situation?