Mental health patients prescribed sedatives without permission

Mental health patients prescribed sedatives without permission

 By The Press Association August 12th 2011

Staff on mental health wards in Scotland should have regular training sessions to help reduce the number of cases in which patients are given medication illegally, a watchdog has said.

More than 10% of patients detained in mental health wards for more than two months have been prescribed sedatives without the necessary permission, a survey by the Mental Welfare Commission found.

The survey was the largest the group has ever carried out among people who are sectioned or given compulsory treatment.

Under the Mental Health Act of 2003 in Scotland, medical staff must obtain consent to further medication from a patient undergoing compulsory treatment for more than two months, or gain a second opinion before they can administer anything against the patient’s wishes.

The group most likely to be given medication illegally are those in elderly care mental health wards, the commission found.

The breaches often involved incomplete forms or no record of the medication actually being used.

The commission recommended regular training on the issue for staff and that hospital pharmacists monitor prescribing more closely.

Here is a little more about the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland:

Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland

We are an independent organisation working to safeguard the rights and  welfare of everyone with a mental illness, learning disability or other mental disorder.  Our duties are set out in mental health and incapacity law.

We are made up of people who have understanding and experience of mental illness

and learning disability. Some of us have worked in healthcare, social care or the law. Some of us are carers or have used mental health and learning disability services ourselves.

We believe that everyone with a mental illness, learning disability or other mental

disorder should:

• Be treated with dignity and respect.

• Have the right to treatment that is allowed by law and fully meets professional standards.

• Have the right to live free from abuse, neglect or discrimination.

• Get the care and treatment that best suits his or her needs.

• Be enabled to lead as fulfilling a life as possible 

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