Health and social care professions have in common the concept of a 'duty of care' toward their users. This means that the wellbeing of the service user should be central to their work. All treatment given must have a therapeutic benefit to the user or must be essential for saving life. Service users should be given sufficient information about any treatment they are offered so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to take it. Information should include the benefits and possible risks of the treatment, the likely duration of treatment and any financial costs. The service user should also be given information on alternatives to the treatment being offered. Mental Health Act 1983
generally, service users detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 must be told what the Act has to say about treatment for mental disorder. This includes the circumstances, if any, under which they can be treated without consent, the circumstances in which they have the right to refuse treatment, the role of second opinion appointed doctors, and, where relevant, the rules on electroconvulsive therapy. Where a particular treatment is proposed during detention, the service user has a right to be given sufficient information to ensure that he or she understands the treatment in broad terms, including its nature, likely effects and significant possible adverse outcomes, the likelihood of its success and any alternatives to it. However, the Act allows service users to be given certain treatments in an emergency, for example in response to an immediate crisis; in this situation the health professionals are not legally obliged to ascertain whether a patient is capable of consenting to the treatment, or to discuss the treatment in full. As a matter of good practice, however, notes relating to an individual's mental capacity and attitude to receiving the treatment should be recorded on his or her medical file. Mind has produced an outline guide to the Mental Health Act...
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