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AMHP Procedure

1. The AMHP Service

The Approved Mental Health Professional Service manages the process known as a Mental Health Act assessment through which a person's mental health is assessed, following a request to do so by other professionals or a person's Nearest Relative. This is in order to reach a decision about whether they need to be admitted to a mental health hospital (often referred to as a psychiatric hospital), including as a detained patient under the Mental Health Act (MHA), or whether they need other forms of support.

Assessments are undertaken by an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) and usually two appropriately trained doctors. The assessment outcome may be that both doctors feel it necessary to make medical recommendations that the person is detained under the MHA; the AMHP will then decide whether to go ahead and detain, sometimes called “section”, the person and give reasons for the decision. A person detained in this way under the MHA has a right to appeal, and to have an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) to consider their situation and advocate on their behalf.

2. Requesting an AMHP

Referrals can be made from AWP teams, such as the Intensive Service, the Recovery service (Community mental health team), the Primary Care Liaison Service, the mental health liaison service at the Great Western Hospital, the Liaison and Diversion Service (LADS) at Gable Cross police station, or via a section 136 MHA detention by the police to the place of safety in Devizes. However, a Nearest Relative (section 26(1) MHA) can also make a referral directly to the AMHP service (section 13(4) MHA) for consideration of a MHA assessment (if it is not agreed to be undertaken, there is a requirement under the same section for the AMHP to state in writing to the Nearest Relative their rationale for this).

Referrals should be made in line with local processes and requirements.

3. Resources and Guidance

Resources and Guidance for those working in the AMHP service can be found in the Local Resources by click here.

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