Mental Health Tribunals: response to the COVID-19 emergency


It is essential that the rights of patients detained under the Mental Health Act continue to be met during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during this period of social distancing the processes surrounding Mental Health Tribunals have had to be adjusted in order to keep all parties safe. In this podcast, Chief Medical Member Dr Joan Rutherford outlines the emergency measures that have been put in place, and provides guidance on how clinicians can continue to treat detained patients fairly and respectfully during this time.


Date published: 15 May 2020

Presenter: Dr Raj Persaud

Interviewee: Dr Joan Rutherford

Audio running time: 35 minutes

Credits: 0.5


Learning outcomes


By the end of this podcast, we hope you will have gained an understanding of:


  • the usual Mental Health Tribunal processes for patients detained under Sections 2 and 3 of the Mental Health Act


  • the changes that have been made to these processes during the COVID-19 pandemic


  • how to treat the detained patients in your care as fairly as possible under the emergency measures.



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Further guidance

You may also wish to read the guidance for Mental Health Tribunal members about video hearings, written by the Deputy Chamber President Judge and the Chief Medical Member. 

Download the guidance

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If you like this podcast, you may also be interested in the following:


Podcast Working with patients remotely with Dr Isobel Heyman


Podcast Ethical considerations arising from COVID-19 with Dr Steve Pearce and Dr Jacinta Tan


Module Mental health and tribunal law: Part 1 and Part 2 by Dr Sanjay Khurmi

© 2020 Royal College of Psychiatrists