What does it mean to be sectioned?

To be sectioned is to be voluntarily or compulsorily held at a place of safety because you require treatment for a limited period or there is an urgent concern that you will harm yourself or someone else. A diagnosis of a mental health condition must be given when you are sectioned and information given to you about the condition and why you need to be in a safe place.

Outline of Compulsory Orders

How long can I be sectioned for?

You can be sectioned at an in-patient unit from as little as 8 hours with a Nurse's Holding Power to up to 6 months with a Treatment Order. A Treatment Order can be renewed initially for up to 6 months and thereafter for periods of 12 months.

The Guernsey Police Station is a designated place of safety where you can be held under a Police Urgency Order for up to 72 hours.

A Community Treatment Order allows for compulsory treatment in a community setting for up to 6 months. It can be renewed initially for up to 6 months and thereafter for periods of 12 months.

Who can section me?

All compulsory orders, except for the short-term holding orders, must be applied for by an Approved Social Worker. A recommendation for you to be sectioned can be made by the following:

Am I entitled to be represented?

Yes - A patient has the right to choose a person whom they wish to act in their interests and with whom they give consent for information about their care and treatment to be shared. 

These can include: A family member, carer, friend, neighbour or clergyman etc.

You do not have the right to appoint an Independent Mental Health Advocate in Guernsey.

Can I refuse medical treatment?

Yes - Consent to medical treatment is required from all patients with the capacity to consent. To make an informed choice the law requires that you are given adequate information to make a sound judgement. This includes the purpose of the medication, its nature, likely effects and risks of that treatment. This information can also be shared with your nominated person if you consent.

The assessment of your capacity is based on clinical judgement.

Do some treatments require my consent?

Yes - Neurosurgery and the surgical implantation of hormones for the reduction of male sexual drive require your consent and a second opinion.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) requires a second opinion, but may be given without your consent if you are deemed not to have capacity.

If a treatment requires consent this can be sought by your Responsible Medical Officer or nominated person.

Do I have the right to a second opinion about my medication?

Yes - You can apply to an independent Second Opinion Appointed Doctor after 3 months if you are concerned that your medication is not appropriate. This opinion may be sought from the UK to ensure a completely independent opinion.

How can I appeal against being sectioned?

An appeal can be made after 5 days of an initial order being made and thereafter once during every 6 month period of detention. An appeal is made to the Mental Health Review Tribunal Panel. This consists of 3 people: the Chair (a qualified legal practioner), an independent Consultant Psychiatrist and one lay member. 

The panel can discharge you, recommend periods of leave from hospital or recommend a transfer from in-patient to community treatment.

You are entitled to free legal representation.

What can I expect from the inpatient ward?

The inpatient ward is seen as a safe environment for which a detained person can receive the relevant treatment for their mental health condition. If you are a compulsory patient you will not be able to leave the ward except if accompanied by a member of staff or if agreed by the Responsible Medical Officer or Mental Health Review Tribunal Panel.

How can I make a complaint about my treatment?

Complaints can be made through the Mental Health Service Users Group. Contact Nicky Le Noury by email: mhsug.guernsey@gmail.com or call Guernsey Mind on 722959