At the start of this month, NHS England and the MHCS published target timescales to consider key decisions for restricted patients under the Mental Health Act.
Various timescales are prescribed, from a same day target for recall and five days for prison transfer, up to a target of 35 days for various types of community leave. The longer timescales reflect decisions which require information from more than one source and the overall targets include a time frame in which clinicians will be expected to provide more information, if requested, from the MHCS.
The targets do not refer to compassionate and medical leave but the document states that where cases are urgent the target is 24 hours.
The document candidly states that the MHCS does not expect to meet the desired timescales in all cases immediately but aims to do so by the end of the year (end July 2020). It also states that performance against each target will be measured and average timescales will be shared with stakeholders on a quarterly basis, so that the MHCS will be accountable for delivering against the targets.
Key points for clinicians
The document makes clear that if requested further information is not received and MHCS have chased four or more times, the application will be closed and the clinician will be required to submit a new application if they wish to proceed.