Yesterday, the 01st July 2022, the Health and Care Act 2022 became law and this changes some of the terms and language used by the NHS for their structures. Until now, every inch of England was covered by a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and those bodies carried legal responsibility for the commissioning of most healthcare you may need to receive in your area. Other commissioning responsiblities for certain specialist care, were reserved to NHS England, such as secure (ie, forensic) mental health care. Now, Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) are the bodies which carry this legal responsibility and sign-makers and web-designers of the UK will rejoice at the need to re-label and re-brand everything NHS related to CCGs, now ICBs.
There are 42 of them across England and if you want more detail on yours or generally, you can find it on the NHS England website. This does not change the structure of mental health trusts, it’s just the commissioning bodies who sit in the background which have changed. You may also hear reference to Integrated Care Systems – obviously, a sufficient simliar name to ICBs to mean there’s obvious potential for confusion, so just not the difference if you find yourself reading about all this.
And what’s the point of this short post on the topic? – well, it’s precisely one thing, touching on the legal responsibility of CCGs which I’ve often mentioned when frustrated about the difficulties of admitting patients under the MHA in a timely way. You’ll no doubt remember the thousands and thousands of cases per year where patients arrested for offences cannot be admitted to hospital in a timely way and remain in custody for days, unlawfully – and obviously, similar scenarios where people are detained under s135 or s136 MHA and admission cannot occur before expiration of the 24hr period?
SECTION 140 MHA
No doubt, I’ll be mentioning this again the future as I’ve every confidence we will see more of these cases and so I wanted to make the note of this legal change in a short post. From 1st July 2022, s140 MHA states –
“It shall be the duty of every Integrated Care Board [England] and of every Local Health Board [Wales] to give notice to every local social services authority for an area wholly or partly comprised within the area of the CCG or LHB specifying the hospital or hospitals administered by or otherwise available to the ICB or LBH in which arrangements are from time to time in force. —
(a) for the reception of patients in cases of special urgency;
(b) for the provision of accommodation or facilities designed so as to be specially suitable for patients who have not attained the age of 18 years.”
The section remains the same: those who commission your healthcare services have a legal duty to ensure they have specified hospitals for the reception of urgent admission.
So which particular hospitals are specified in your area? Remember: ensuring they are identified may be key to determining whether or not an Article 5 ECHR violation is avoided and vulnerable people admitted to relevant mental health care in a timely way.
Winner of the President’s Medal,
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award
All views expressed are my own – they do not represent the views of any organisation.
(c) Michael Brown, 2022
I try to keep this blog up to date, but inevitably over time, amendments to the law as well as court rulings and other findings from inquests and complaints processes mean it is difficult to ensure all the articles and pages remain current. Please ensure you check all legal issues in particular and take appropriate professional advice where necessary.
Government legislation website – www.legislation.gov.uk