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What are the main sections used for?

This tab: 3) What are the main sections used for?

Section 2 Purpose: Admission for patient assessment.

Duration of section: 28 days



Section 3 Purpose: Admission for treatment of a patient.

Duration of section: up to 6 months


Section 4 Purpose: Urgent admission for patient assessment from the community, usually enforced when a section 2 would take to long to enact.

Duration of section: 72 hours (may be converted to section 2 to extend assessment period to 28 days)



Section 5(2) Purpose: Urgent detention of inpatient

Duration of section: 72 hours


Section 5(4) Purpose: Urgent detention of an inpatient by a nurse were a doctor is absent

Duration of section: 6 hours


Section 135 Purpose: Removal of person from home to place of safety. This requires a court order to enact and remove someone from a private property.

Duration of section: 72 hours


Section 136 Purpose: Removal of a person from a public place to a place of safety. This does not require a court order.

Duration of section: 72 hours


Community Treatment Order Purpose: An order that a patient is placed upon after discharge from hospital for psychiatric treatment that allows continued treatment within the community setting.

Duration of section: up to 6 months.


  • Crown Copyright (1983) Mental Health Act 1983 [online]. Available at: (Accessed 21/07/17) (amended by the Mental Health Act 2007)
  • J. Collier, M. Longmore, T. Turmezel and A. R. Mafi. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties, 8th edition, Oxford University press, 2008, pp: 398-401

1. What is a section?

2. Who can enforce a sectioning order?


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