New consultation: changes to the transfer and remission of adult patients detained under the Mental Health Act

NHS England and NHS Improvement launched their consultation on 23 May 2019. The consultation is in connection with guidance for individuals held in prisons and immigration removal centres (IRCs), who have subsequently been detained, subject to the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) and require treatment within mental health in-patient services.

While there is 2011 guidance in respect of prisons there has not, to date, been guidance in respect of IRCs. In addition, there is currently no guidance on urgent referrals and transfers for those in crisis. This consultation follows a period of engagement from January to September 2018.

The consultation focuses on two proposed documents:

NHSE and NHSI have proposed updates to these two documents and want your comments.

The case for change follows the 2017 National Audit Office report into prison mental health services, the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and the 2018 independent review of the Mental Health Act. For more information on the review of the MHA read our briefing.

The guidance is aimed at:

  • offender personality disorder services
  • prison mental health services
  • NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • clinical commissioning groups
  • in-patient mental health providers
  • Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service

The main changes proposed relate to:

  • increasing the timescales for transfers from 14 to 28 days;
  • setting timescales for remission back to prison of 14 days; and
  • updating the dispute resolution process.

In particular NHSE and NHSI would like to hear from:

  • individuals who have been or are in prison/immigration removal centres and have been transferred under the MHA to mental health services;
  • family members and carers of those involved;
  • organisations, clinicians and staff who are providing mental health care, treatment and support for these individuals; and
  • commissioners of these services.

The consultation will close on 19 July 2019 – have your say by completing the online survey, the questionnaire which has a total of 11 questions or provide more generalised feedback.

If you would like advice in relation to the MHA and its implementation, please contact Molly Sanghera or a member of the team.

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

Posted by


Mills & Reeve Sites navigation
A tabbed collection of Mills & Reeve sites.
My Mills & Reeve navigation
Subscribe to, or manage your My Mills & Reeve account.
My M&R


Register for My M&R to stay up-to-date with legal news and events, create brochures and bookmark pages.

Existing clients

Log in to your client extranet for free matter information, know-how and documents.


Mills & Reeve system for employees.