Under the terms of the MHA, a patient who has a mental disorder that is putting themselves or others at a risk of harm, and refuses treatment, may be detained for treatment if certain conditions are met. The majority of our LGO reports refer to s117 aftercare under the MHA, which is a FREE service for those whose liberty has been removed from them under the Act, when they leave hospital. You are entitled to s117 aftercare if you were detained under certain sections of the MHA (reports here refer to s3 detentions in the main). Section 117 aftercare services continue until such time as the NHS body and social services authority both decide a person no longer requires the services by way of aftercare (we think that this means for the purpose set forth in the statute, the avoidance of compulsory re-admission to hospital) and (according to the MHA code of guidance) hold a discharge meeting to which the person and their carer/family member is invited.
A lack of a s117 assessment process is always fault, if a person is entitled. The bulk of these reports refer to failings in regards to s117 funding for accommodation.
Accommodation can generally only be part of section 117 aftercare if:
- the need is for enhanced specialised accommodation (“accommodation plus”); [accommodation of an overall nature required in order to make the care services feasibly able to achieve the statutory purpose]
- the “accommodation plus” reduces the risk of the person’s mental condition worsening and the likelihood of the person returning to hospital for treatment for mental disorder. [ie the statutory purpose of aftercare now]
- When accommodation is part of a person’s section 117 aftercare, it must be free to the person.
Recent 2019/2020 reports say that Councils and NHS organisations should not advise people to claim benefits such as Housing Benefit to pay for accommodation that is part of their section 117 aftercare.