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The Nearest Relative Handbook

The Nearest Relative Handbook Book review David Hewitt Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2007) Paperback Price: £17.99 ISBN: 978 184310 522 0 Nearest relatives have several crucial roles under the Act (2007) keeps the nearest relative as potential applicant. Mental Health Act (1983). They can insist on an This is probably to cover the possibility that there might be assessment for a possible compulsory admission, they insufficient approved mental health practitioners (AMHPs) have powers of discharge from detention or guardianship, to cope with the number of assessments. There is some they have a right to information and, though it is rarely helpful material on section 13(4), which currently provides used, they also have the power to apply for detention or the nearest relative with a right to an ASW assessment. guardianship. David Hewitt has produced a book that This will extend to AMHPs from October 2008. explores these functions in some depth. The nearest relative’s powers to discharge a patient is The book starts with a brief history of the nearest outlined. There is also a discussion of their rights to relative and mental health law. One minor criticism of information but this passage is not as detailed as other this part of the book is that there is probably too much parts of the book, which is unfortunate as this is an material on the proposals that were discussed during the important area and would have been of particular interest recent draft stages of mental health law reform. Virtually to any nearest relatives reading the book. none of these proposals reached the statute book and they There is a chapter devoted to supervised aftercare and will be of only limited interest to most readers. On the it is unfortunate that this will become redundant when other hand, the material on R (E) v Bristol City Council supervised aftercare is replaced by the Community and other recent caselaw is well written and helpful. Treatment Order (CTO) in October 2008. There are The second chapter deals with the intricacies of significant differences in the role of the nearest relative in identifying the nearest relative of a patient. This is a relation to the CTO, so this chapter will need to be read in surprisingly difficult task as it is governed by some complex the context of the legislative change. rules. The process is described clearly but unfortunately There is also a chapter on the Mental Capacity Act there is no discussion or view expressed on what should (2005) and, while there are clearly overlaps between the happen if a hospital considers that the approved social two statutes, the focus of this chapter seems a little strange. worker (ASW) has identified the wrong person as a nearest It compares the role of the independent mental capacity relative. This can cause serious problems in practice and advocate (IMCA) with that of the nearest relative. These some guidance would have been very welcome. are very different functions and there might have been The third chapter explains how to identify the nearest more mileage in focusing on situations such as where relative of a child (in this context any one under the age of someone has made a lasting power of attorney, or where a 18). Chapter 4 then defines the circumstances when a person deputy is appointed, and where someone else is nearest will stop being the nearest relative. This chapter covers the relative. Potential clashes where the attorney objects to use of Regulation 14 to transfer authority as well as the admission to psychiatric hospital but the nearest relative is county court’s role in displacement and/or appointment of in favour, this will need some resolution. nearest relatives. The section on court procedure will be of Finally there is an appendix of statutory extracts, which is particular use to practitioners such as ASWs. very helpful despite there being some significant omissions. Chapter 5 gives details of the nearest relative’s powers In conclusion, this is a well written and helpful book, when a patient is admitted to hospital. It also covers the which will hopefully be revised in the light of the assessment process itself. The chapter also includes a legislative changes and become an important resource for discussion of the Code of Practice recommendation that those working to the reformed Mental Health Act. the applicant should usually be the ASW rather than the nearest relative. Despite the small number of applications Reviewed by Robert Brown made by nearest relatives each year (there are so few that Head of the Approved Social Work Training Programme the Department of Health has stopped publishing the in South West England, and a Mental Health Act details in England) it is noteworthy that the Mental Health Commissioner. The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice Volume 3 Issue 3 September 2008 © Pavilion Journals (Brighton) Ltd http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1755-6228
DOI
10.1108/17556228200800022
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Book review David Hewitt Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2007) Paperback Price: £17.99 ISBN: 978 184310 522 0 Nearest relatives have several crucial roles under the Act (2007) keeps the nearest relative as potential applicant. Mental Health Act (1983). They can insist on an This is probably to cover the possibility that there might be assessment for a possible compulsory admission, they insufficient approved mental health practitioners (AMHPs) have powers of discharge from detention or guardianship, to cope with the number of assessments. There is some they have a right to information and, though it is rarely helpful material on section 13(4), which currently provides used, they also have the power to apply for detention or the nearest relative with a right to an ASW assessment. guardianship. David Hewitt has produced a book that This will extend to AMHPs from October 2008. explores these functions in some depth. The nearest relative’s powers to discharge a patient is The book starts with a brief history of the nearest outlined. There is also a discussion of their rights to relative and mental health law. One minor criticism of information but this passage is not as detailed as other this part of the book is that there is probably too much parts of the book, which is unfortunate as this is an material on the proposals that were discussed during the important area and would have been of particular interest recent draft stages of mental health law reform. Virtually to any nearest relatives reading the book. none of these proposals reached the statute book and they There is a chapter devoted to supervised aftercare and will be of only limited interest to most readers. On the it is unfortunate that this will become redundant when other hand, the material on R (E) v Bristol City Council supervised aftercare is replaced by the Community and other recent caselaw is well written and helpful. Treatment Order (CTO) in October 2008. There are The second chapter deals with the intricacies of significant differences in the role of the nearest relative in identifying the nearest relative of a patient. This is a relation to the CTO, so this chapter will need to be read in surprisingly difficult task as it is governed by some complex the context of the legislative change. rules. The process is described clearly but unfortunately There is also a chapter on the Mental Capacity Act there is no discussion or view expressed on what should (2005) and, while there are clearly overlaps between the happen if a hospital considers that the approved social two statutes, the focus of this chapter seems a little strange. worker (ASW) has identified the wrong person as a nearest It compares the role of the independent mental capacity relative. This can cause serious problems in practice and advocate (IMCA) with that of the nearest relative. These some guidance would have been very welcome. are very different functions and there might have been The third chapter explains how to identify the nearest more mileage in focusing on situations such as where relative of a child (in this context any one under the age of someone has made a lasting power of attorney, or where a 18). Chapter 4 then defines the circumstances when a person deputy is appointed, and where someone else is nearest will stop being the nearest relative. This chapter covers the relative. Potential clashes where the attorney objects to use of Regulation 14 to transfer authority as well as the admission to psychiatric hospital but the nearest relative is county court’s role in displacement and/or appointment of in favour, this will need some resolution. nearest relatives. The section on court procedure will be of Finally there is an appendix of statutory extracts, which is particular use to practitioners such as ASWs. very helpful despite there being some significant omissions. Chapter 5 gives details of the nearest relative’s powers In conclusion, this is a well written and helpful book, when a patient is admitted to hospital. It also covers the which will hopefully be revised in the light of the assessment process itself. The chapter also includes a legislative changes and become an important resource for discussion of the Code of Practice recommendation that those working to the reformed Mental Health Act. the applicant should usually be the ASW rather than the nearest relative. Despite the small number of applications Reviewed by Robert Brown made by nearest relatives each year (there are so few that Head of the Approved Social Work Training Programme the Department of Health has stopped publishing the in South West England, and a Mental Health Act details in England) it is noteworthy that the Mental Health Commissioner. The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice Volume 3 Issue 3 September 2008 © Pavilion Journals (Brighton) Ltd

Journal

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and PracticeEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 1, 2008

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