South West Hertfordshire HA v KB [1994] 2 FCR. 1051 (QBD)

Medical treatment – consent – force-feeding – anorexia nervosa – mental disorder

This was an application by a health authority for a declaration as to the lawfulness of naso-gastric feeding without the consent of the patient who was suffering from anorexia nervosa.

Granting the declaration, the Court held that anorexia nervosa was a mental disorder and the consent of the patient was not required for any medical treatment administered by a responsible medical officer for a mental disorder, under s63 Mental Health Act 1983. Naso- gastric feeding was medicine, as opposed to merely being food, and an integral part of the treatment for anorexia nervosa.

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