The legislation governing the compulsory treatment of people who have a mental disorder is the Mental Health Act 1983. Through the Mental Health Act 2007, the Government has updated the 1983 Act to ensure it keeps pace with the changes in the way that mental health services are – and need to be – delivered.
It also extends the rights of victims by amending the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. It has introduced the "deprivation of liberty safeguards" by amending the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) in April 2009.
The legislation broadens the group of practitioners who can take on the functions previously performed by the approved social worker (ASW) and responsible medical officer (RMO). The Act introduces the opportunity for Mental Health or Learning Disability Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers and Charted Psychologists to be approved to become Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP).
The RMO is replaced by the Responsible Clinician (RC) who is the most suitable Approved Clinician (AC) who will have the overall responsibility for the patient’s care and treatment. An Approved Clinician can be approved from among Psychiatrists, Chartered Psychologists, Mental Health or Learning Disability Nurses, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers.