Waiting times for MHA in community secondary care services

Hello all,

I am interested to find out what are the acceptable time frames for MHA in community settings please. In addition, if any of you know of any national guidance papers on this matter that you are aware of and can recommend to me I would be grateful for.

I think, Sophia, it would help to be more precise. Time-frames for what exactly? Some time periods are specified or prescribed in the MHA but it isn’t clear what you are referring to. Take care.

Hi thank you I want to know as to whether there are any national targets that exist regarding how long it takes from referral to assessment for a mental
Health act assessment. Are there targets for this ? There are screening targets for other services and targets for referral to assessment are there any comparative measures for mental health act assessments in the community please ?

National targets used to be (as set out by the Mental Health Crisis Concordat) that the AMHP team who take the referral will respond with a ‘consideration’ of the referral within 3 or 4 hours (can’t recall if it was 3 or 4).

That means exactly what it says, consider the referral, not start getting in the car and going out but consider.

Then there are many factors that will decide how long it takes to move from ‘consideration’ to planning the assessment, such as the amount of time it takes the AMHP to gather information, speak to a Nearest Relative, assess risks and may need to involve other agencies such as the police. The police for example might be needed to attend but may not be available, or there may be not bed and the AMHP has assessed it is not safe to assess without a bed, for a multitude of reasons. There may be a lack of s12 doctors available. Time of day is a consideration, in terms of the patient needs. Lack of AMHP’s might stall an assessment. Sometime the AMHP assesses a warrant might be needed and the first slot to be heard by a magistrate could be 48 hours away, so no matter what we try to achieve, life, humans, and lack of resources play a part, so your question is a difficult one to answer, targets or no targets - sorry :slight_smile:

thank you for your answer it is very helpful. We (in my trust) have struggled to define acceptable time frames for MHA for all the reasons you have outlined in your response.