Key Points are
Guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1983
In the year to 31 March 2000
- 530 Guardianship cases were closed and 632 new cases opened,
resulting in 1,037 cases being open at the end of the year (up by
11% on 1999);
- In almost all cases (99%) guardianship was conferred on the local
authority, with the remaining 1% conferred on a named individual.
- For cases closed during 1999-2000 the average length of
guardianship was 18 months (in past years this average has ranged
from 13 to 17 months). There is some variability in average case
length by local authority.
- The 632 new cases opened in the year to 31 March 2000, are small
in number when compared with the 27,000 formal admissions to
hospital (that are made under the Mental Health Act 1983).
Between 31 March 1993 and 31 March 2000
- The total number of guardianship cases open at the end of the year
increased from 400 in 1993 to 1,037 in 2000.
- The number of new cases during the year ending 31 March 2000 was
almost the same as in 1999, and was just more than two and a half
times the 1993 figure of 243.
The latest national data on formal admissions were published
in a Statistical Bulletin, released in October 2000. Detailed
breakdown of the data for NHS Trusts, high security psychiatric
hospitals and private hospitals will be published in a booklet on
28 February 2001.
Section 7 of the Mental Health Act provides for guardianship
under the auspices of a local social services authority (or a
named individual) on the recommendation of both two doctors and an
application by an approved social worker or the nearest relative.
Under Section 37 a court can also make a guardianship order. The
guardian has power to require the patient to live in a specified
place and to attend specified places for treatment, occupation and
education and training. An order lasts for six months, initially
renewable for a further 6 months and then for a year at a time.
guardianship offers a framework for working with a patient with
the minimum of constraint to achieve as independent a life as
possible within the community.
Rounded figure taken from the statistical bulletin 'In-patients
formally detained in hospitals under the Mental Health Act 1983
and other legislation, England: 1989-1990 to 1999-2000' (Bulletin
(2000/19, published October 2000, ISBN 1 84182 232 9).
Detailed extracts of the data on formal admissions of detained
patients for NHS Trusts, high security psychiatric hospitals and
private hospitals will be available in an annual reference booklet
on 28 February 2001 (ISBN 1 84182 301 5).
For copies of the Guardianship report publications
contact Department of Health Publications, P0 Box 777 London SE1
6XH. (0541 555 455, Fax 01623 724524, e-mail email@example.com).
For further information on the guardianship figures contact
Gerry Smith or Tracie Kilbey, Statistics Division 3B, Room 452C,
Department of Health, Skipton House, 80 London Road, Elephant and
Castle, London, SE1 6LH. (020 7972 5585/2).
The booklet can be obtained from SD2C, Room 430B Skipton House,
London, SE1 6LH