Statutory guidance: Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018

Department Of Health

December 7
10:00 2021


Applies to: England (and police forces in Wales)

The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act became law in November 2018. The aim of the act and the statutory guidance is to:

  • clearly set out the measures that are needed to prevent the inappropriate use of force
  • ensure accountability and transparency about the use of force in mental health units

The use of force includes:

  • physical, mechanical or chemical restraint of a patient
  • the isolation of a patient, including seclusion and segregation

This statutory guidance is intended for use by NHS hospitals and independent hospitals (providing NHS-funded care) in England that are providing care and treatment to patients with a mental disorder. It covers:

  • how they should meet the legal obligations placed on them by the act
  • best practice advice
  • the obligations on police officers from Wales when in mental health units in England

This statutory guidance is made under section 11 of the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018. It was finalised following a public consultation, which the government has published a response to.

Published 7 December 2021

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