Ealing District Health Authority, ex parte Fox [1993] 3 All ER 170 (QBD)

Mental health – after-care – s 117 Mental Health Act 1983 – duty

A district health authority was under a mandatory duty under s 117 of the 1983 Act to provide after-care services for any person to whom the section applied and was therefore under a duty to make practical arrangements for after-care prior to a patient’s discharge from hospital, where such arrangements were required by a mental health review tribunal in order to enable the patient to be conditionally discharged from hospital.

The mere acceptance by the health authority of its doctors’ opinions was not of itself a sufficient discharge of the authority’s obligations to give effect to the arrangements specified and required by the mental health review tribunal, since if the authority’s doctors did not agree with the conditions imposed by the tribunal and were disinclined to make the necessary arrangements to supervise the applicant on his release, the authority remained under a continuing obligation to make further endeavours to provide arrangements within its own resources or to obtain them from other health authorities which provided such services or, if such arrangements still could not be made, to refer the matter to the Secretary of State to enable him to exercise his power to refer the case back to the mental health review tribunal.

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