MHT returning to face-to-face hearings

— Under a pilot scheme, from 3/10/22 (for non-s2 cases) and from 7/11/22 (for s2 cases) the patient will be asked to express a preference ("hearing by video", "hearing at the hospital" or "no preference"; in the last case the default will be video). A face-to-face hearing preference must be communicated at least 14 days (for non-s2 cases) or 72 hours (for s2 cases) before the hearing. The intention is to meet the patient's preference when possible (subject to panel availability, lockdowns etc); an urgent application should be made if the patient changes his mind. The responsible authority can also express a preference. Regional listing will resume, but national listing will be available for video hearings to meet demand. Legal representatives will be asked to complete a survey after each hearing to provide feedback on patient choice. The medical member can decide how to conduct the PHE unless this has been directed to be conducted in-person. The pilot scheme will be reviewed regularly (and may be affected by a changing coronavirus situation), prior to a final review in February 2023. Until the pilot commences, all patients continue to be able to apply for a face-to-face hearing.
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