Can RC's deferred s23 discharge be retracted?

S.23 discharge advice needed.
Dear all, i would welcome advice on the following matter. A patient is discharged by acting clinician (locum) by way of s23 which is filed at the Tribunal service. The clinician dates the discharge form for the following day. A few short hours later, the clinician withdraws the s23 stating the patient should not have been discharged as he needs to be placed under a C.T.O and retracts the s23, and client resumes s3. Is this lawful? Can a s23 be voided/ retracted? Please advise, with any authorities if possible . Thank you so much


An order make under section 23 discharges a patient. There’s no provision for future discharge, so either:

  1. The discharge is effective immediately and it can’t be rescinded or,
  2. The order was not make in accordance with section 23 and was never lawful.

I’d obviously argue for 1. (above) because if the acting RC feels that the patient no longer needed to be detained then it is their duty to discharge immediately and therefore the incorrect form of the order was merely a clerical error, or a failure to understand the correct procedure, and should take effect as intended i.e. the patient must be discharged.

Clerical errors that work against the patient are glossed over so, to be fair, ones that work in their favour should be too. One RC isn’t better than another.

This is interesting because it is potentially very expensive for the hospital/Trust if they are illegally detaining someone and they can’t simply reassess them because they claim they are already legally detained. I’d mention that in correspondence, if I were you.

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Thank you Tammy, for a very helpful perspective which has put things into context.