Contacting NR without patient's consent

Hi all, I am completing a Social Circumstances Report for MHT. Patient detained under s3. He did not give consent to contact his mother (NR within the meaning of the Act). Am I oblige to speak with the NR without the patient’s consent?

Any thoughts or references would be hugely appreciated. Thank you


My view is that there is a duty to contact the n/r to ascertain their views. The consent of the patient isn’t required to obtain information, only to provide it


The default position (see the Tribunal Practice Direction) is that you must seek the views of the nearest relative, unless having consulted the patient “it would inappropriate or impractical to consult the Nearest Relative, in which case give reasons for this view and describe any attempts to rectify matters.” So lack of patient consent is not on its own, sufficient reason to not seek the nearest relative’s views.


As Guy Davis says, consult the tribunal practice directions. They will also guide you as to what you should include in your SC report.

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Thank you very much Rob and Guy.

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A post was split to a new topic: Circumstances in which patient can change nearest relative

Has the patient got mental capacity to make that informed decision or not ?

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Many thanks for the response. Peter, yes. No concerns about the patient’s capacity.

Hi Peter, as explained by Rob and Guy, I share same views. Hope that helps.

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Then you can not give against his/her wish.

That’s not correct; the author of the report is required to comply with the law!


There is a significant difference between obtaining the views of the NR and providing them with information about the patient. In my view it is a skill that the report writer needs to have, to be able to obtain the views of the NR without breaching confidentiality. I think many people fail to understand this subtle but signifiant difference.
If the NR is aware that the patient is currently detained, and for a s3 detention that would appear to be almost inevitable, then obtaining their views on the ongoing detention will not be providing any additional information to them than they already have.
Clearly if there are reasons why contacting the NR is likely to cause the patient distress or harm, they need to be taken into account, and explained in the report.

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