Does a GP need to obtain a patient's 'informed consent' before a referral to the CMHT?

Does a GP need to obtain a patient’s ‘informed consent’ before referring them to the community mental health team for an assessment?

  • Not under the mental health act 1983.
  • This assessment is to explore and investigate the options for dealing with the patient’s mental health concerns before it is escalated to that legal and restrictive stage.

The two links above suggests that there is a mutual discussion between patient and doctor - and that they have a choice on what treatment they want before it reaches that point where the doctor could recommend legal sectioning etc. It appears there is a choice, and capacity is still in play regarding their patient.

Any views welcome?


Yes in most cases unless GP has grave concerns.

If the GP has grave concerns - then still at this stage the GP should be required to communicate with their patient to make them aware of these concerns; rather than making decisions without the patient’s awareness.

Reading all of this - including the capacity act 2005 guidebook that the government has and the examples they give, and what you have written Sarada (thanks for the replies) :

There are stages before a patient is essentially sectioned or has any decision made for them.

A doctor must by law always communicate throughout every stage.

The doctor has a responsibility to keep the patient informed - even if they intend to bypass their consent for an assessment. Based on what you have written if they clearly are incapacitated then this dialogue must be channelled using different methods e.g. advocates, family - even another professional person who specialises in this area. But every attempt must first be made by the GP. Otherwise it’s seen as exploitation and a violation of someone’s human’s rights and they risk being reprimanded by the GMC for improper practise.

That is my interpretation of everything I am trying to understand.

Below are two good links.

Let’s say even a person with severe dementia or mental disability etc - it appears they are spoken to by their physician to see whether or not they can communicate a decision. I’ve read countless examples in these pdfs - there is always a mutual partnership.

Department for Constitutional Affairs, Mental Capacity Act 2005: Code of Practice (2007)

This was an extract from the very lonnnnnngggg Mental Capacity Act 2005 code of practice haha (1st PDF):

What this example shows:

  1. Communication with the patient first - this is always prevalent despite her illness.
  2. Arranges for another professional to investigate before a decision is made.
  3. Considering this is quite serious - the patient is still given time and effort by the pros to see if more information can be gathered before the most restrictive option is used - which is getting sectioned.