Main Implications of the 2007 Changes
- The existing Approved Social Worker (ASW) role has been replaced by the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP). This change opens up the role to different occupational groups, including Nurses, Psychologists and Occupational Therapists;
- The Act changes the responsibility for employment of Social Workers. Formerly it was the statutory duty of the Local Authority – it will now be the duty of Social Services to register and monitor, but not necessarily employ the Social Workers. It remains the duty of Social Services to arrange for a 24hr AMHP service to be available;
- For new AMHPs i.e. those staff who are Nurses, Psychologists or Occupational Therapists, the training will be similar to the current Approved Social Worker course i.e. approximately 300 hours and delivered by a University;
- The Responsible Medical Officer (RMO) role has been replaced by that of Responsible Clinician (RC), which opens up the role to non-Medical Staff;
- Supervised Community Treatment orders allow for a number of compulsory powers to be applied while someone is living in the community. These include those powers currently contained in Guardianship and Supervised Discharge but also include compulsory medication (although forcible treatment can only be provided in hospital). Supervised Community Treatment (also referred as Community Treatment Orders) are designed for people who have relapsed quite frequently in the past and must follow from a section 3 or other longer term section of the Mental Health Act;
- From April 2010 young people under 18 years must be in an environment that is suitable for their age, subject to their needs;
- Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) will provide a safeguard for service users who are subject to the Act. IMHAs do not take the place of other advocacy services, but they will be trained to work specifically within the framework of the mental health legislation.