Urgent Update: The Mental Health Infection Control Directions have been revoked – how does it affect the Mental Health Act 2014?

The Chief Health Officer revoked the Mental Health Infection Control Directions on 29th August 2022 (find revocation document here).

The Mental Health Infection Control Directions altered the way that assessments (section 48) and examinations (section 79) under the Mental Health Act 2014 were to be carried out when either the patient, or the clinician had COVID-19, had been in contact with COVID-19, had symptoms of COVID-19 or had been directed to isolate.  In those circumstances, the assessment or examination had to be carried out using one or more of the following infection control measures: use of PPE, use of a physical barrier, physical distancing, or audiovisual equipment.

Therefore, when the Mental Health Infection Control Directions were in place, there were times when it was possible to use audiovisual means to carry out assessments or examinations, in the metro area, when the COVID-19 criteria were met.

Now that the Mental Health Infection Control Directions have been revoked, this is no longer the case.

Assessments (section 48) and examinations (section 79) under the Mental Health Act 2014 can therefore no longer be carried out using telehealth or other audiovisual means, in the metro area.

The arrangements outside the metro area are not affected.

The COVID-19 FAQs will be updated to reflect this change.