Skip to main content

Review Service for Mental Health

We monitor the use of the Mental Health Act and protect the interests of people whose rights are restricted under that Act.

Our role as the Review Service for Mental Health, is to review the use of the Mental Health Act 1983 and check that it is being used properly on behalf of Welsh Ministers.

The Review Service is independent of all staff and managers of hospitals and mental health teams. Mental Health Act reviewers include doctors, nurses, social workers, lawyers, psychologists, service users and other people with knowledge of the Act and mental health services.

The Review Service publishes a report of its activities and findings every year.

What do the reviewers do?

The Review Service may investigate certain types of complaints  and reviewers meet with patients in places where they are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 and may also meet with patients subject to Guardianship or Community Treatment Orders (CTO) to check:

  • that patients are lawfully detained and well cared for;
  • that patients are informed about their rights under the Act;
  • that patients are given respect for their qualities, abilities and diverse backgrounds as individuals, and that account is taken of their needs in relation to age, gender, sexual orientation, social, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds;
  • that patients are enabled to lead as fulfilling life as possible;
  • that the Mental Health Act Code of Practice for Wales is being followed; and
  • that the right plans are made for patients before they are discharged from hospital.

During visits, reviewers talk to detained patients in private and meet with managers and other staff to talk about things that affect patients’ care and treatment and to raise issues on behalf of patients.

What the Review Service for Mental Health cannot do

The Review Service cannot:

  • discharge patients from their section under the Mental Health Act 1983;
  • discharge patients from hospital;
  • arrange for patients to have leave;
  • transfer patients to another hospital;
  • offer individual medical advice;
  • offer individual legal advice; and
  • help informal patients.

This is because the law is very clear about what we can and cannot do, not because we don’t want to help. The Review Service can let you know where else to get help.

Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD)

When requested by a patient’s responsible hospital, the Review Service arranges for an independent doctor, called a Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD) to provide a second opinion if a patient is not able or willing to consent to their treatment.

The Review Service for Mental Health Team can be contacted by telephone, post or email:

Review Service for Mental Health
Healthcare Inspectorate Wales
Welsh Government
Rhydycar Business Park
Merthyr Tydfil
CF48 1UZ
Tel: 0300 062 8327

Please note: We are currently reviewing this guidance and it will be updated shortly