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Responsible/Approved Clinicians

About

An approved clinician is a mental health professional approved by the secretary of state or a person or body exercising the approval function of the secretary of state. Some decisions under the Mental Health Act can only be taken by people who are approved clinicians. All responsible clinicians must be approved clinicians.

An responsible clinician is the approved clinician with overall responsibility for the case. Certain decisions (such as renewing a patient’s detention or placing a patient on a community treatment order) can only be taken by the responsible clinician.

The 2007 amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 introduced the roles of approved clinician and responsible clinician, enabling mental health professionals other than psychiatrists to carry out duties previously performed by psychiatrists. The introduction of these roles was intended to deliver enhanced quality of care while also ensuring the best use of our skilled and professionally diverse workforce. It is therefore important to ensure the approved clinician is the clinician with the right set of skills to address the patient’s main treatment needs. The adoption of this role will allow patients to benefit from the unique perspectives of nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists.

Implementation Guide

The Multi-Professional Approved/Responsible Clinicians Implementation Guide ensures we make the best use of our skilled and professionally diverse workforce. This role allows patients to benefit from the unique perspectives of nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists. This guidance has been developed using an expert advisory group (consisting of approved clinicians from the four eligible professions, representatives of mental health trusts across England and professional bodies).  A key driver for this work is providing an opportunity to keep senior clinicians in clinical practice and providing direct patient care.