Validity of wording on MHA Forms

Hello Everyone, I hope you’re all well.

I wanted to put a note out to pick up on the topic of wording on the new MHA Forms.

We’ve recently been made aware of a number of incidents of Forms not being accepted due to some wording discrepancies on different types of Forms. These incidents have included:

  • MHLO Forms not being accepted due to the addition of “Form amended by SI 2020/1072 for use from 1 December 2020" on the bottom of the Form
  • Thalamos Forms not being accepted due to the lack of “Form amended by SI 2020/1072 for use from 1 December 2020" on the bottom of the Form
  • Forms not being accepted because the don’t have the DHSC logo on them.
  • Forms not being accepted because they are white not pink.

The feedback we’ve received is inconsistent and not limited to electronic forms. Preferences seem to exist between DHSC style forms and MHLO style forms. In some of the incidents we’ve been made aware of, I have been able to speak with the AMHP or MHA Team and assure them of the validity. In some instances however, Doctors and AMHPs have been asked to re-visit and re-complete the Forms leading to delays in treatment.

I believe that there is great opportunity for care improvements in the digitisation of the MHA, it’s the reason Thalamos exists. However the above issues are somewhat concerning. I know Jonathan at MHLO online has been clear on the website about this, likewise we are doing our best to share our learnings through webinar, website articles and our help pages. I also wanted to flag it with this group though in case there had been any miscommunication elsewhere.

To be clear from our side, Thalamos’ forms have been amended in line with the Statutory Instrument itself, The Mental Health (Hospital, Guardianship and Treatment) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. The Statutory Instrument makes no reference to, colours, logo’s, or wording discussing the amendment itself. I would hate to think that someone’s care had been negatively impacted by a misinterpretation of the wording on one of our Forms. Thalamos are fortunate to work with the CQC SOAD Team who have themselves confirmed the wording on Thalamos Forms with providers.

I am not a lawyer, so please consult with your own advisors for legal advice but if you have any questions regarding the wording on Thalamos Forms, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Many thanks


1 Like

Hi Arden
I am an MHA Administrator with 30 years experience.
In my opinion these are all ‘de minimis’, have no effect on the validity of the detention, and should be disregarded. I suggest that any firm’s legal advice would support this. Additions to forms of logos etc are sometimes seen eg by CQC inspectors as ‘not allowed’ but no court is going to even consider invalidating a document on this basis (provided that the required statutory wording is all there and the document is valid in all other respects).


Spot on, Ronnie. A form that is hand written on plain paper is lawful as long as the statutory wording is reproduced.