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The availability of section 12 doctors for Mental Health Act assessments: Interview perceptions and analysis of the national MHA Approvals Register Database

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherNIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, The Policy Institute, King's College London
Commissioning bodyNIHR Policy Research Programme
Published11 Jan 2022


King's Authors


This report presents the findings of a study which explored the reasons for and nature of reported difficulties in accessing section 12 (s12) doctors for Mental Health Act (MHA) assessments. For a person to be legally detained in hospital, the law requires that MHA assessments must involve such doctors and also other professionals (mainly social workers) acting as Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs). The study was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). We combined interviews (n=52) with an analysis of the national MHA Approvals Register Database (Approvals Register), maintained on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care by four regional Approvals Panels. This is the first time that external analysts have been given this access and we are grateful for this permission. We also consulted with people with direct experience of being assessed by s12 doctors for their views on our initial findings.

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