"Trying to get a copy of section 17 paperwork"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

My relative has been at Highbury for over two months now...there has been constant talk of the potential risk of violence my relative poses. Despite this, my relative has pretty much daily leave with family members (sect 17 leave). No risk assessment is completed prior to leave or on return from leave, no information is asked for by staff and no information is given. I have been trying to get a copy of the section 17 papers for weeks, but it just hasn't been forthcoming. I have contacted my relatives consultant, the chief executive of the trust. I have spoken to the ward manager and I have spoken to nursing staff. What exactly does a relative need to do to get the information and service that the MHA code of practice says we should be getting?

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Response from Patrick Crolla, Acting Ward Manager, Rowan 1, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Good afternoon,

Many thanks for your posting.

We are always grateful to receive information if we are not achieving the high standards of care we strive for.

You are correct in stating that as per the MHA code of practice, it is deemed as very good practice to provide copies of Section 17 documentation for relatives and persons within a supportive care network.

Risk assessments are reviewed weekly by keyworkers on the ward, or when changes to risk occur, with a view to assessing levels of risk in collaboration with patients.

The MDT's aim would be to explore risk issues in order to identify support that the team can offer to identify and triggers to behaviours of risk and help to provide coping strategies/preventative measures before issues may arrive.

It is good practice to discuss this assessment with family members and we offer our apologies if this action has not occured. We can only learn from this and discuss improved practice further to the feedback you have offered.

Section 17 leave is discussed within the Multi Disciplinary Team (Nursing staff, Peer Support Workers, Occupational Therapists, Consultant Psychiatrists, Junior Doctors), the individual and family members/friends/carers on a weekly basis during a review process. I am surprised that this has not been discussed with yourself or any other members of your family at this time as this is common practice on the ward, but would of course be happy to investigate further.

A copy of the Section 17 form has now been provided and will be available upon a family members next visit to the ward and shall be available upon each change to S17 documentation in future.

We would be very happy to discuus any further feedback in future in order to provide the best level of care for your relative.

If you would like to contact the ward via email, please contact and utilise our new carers support email service on the ward at any time:


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Update posted by it'salwaystherighttimetodotherightthing (a relative)

Thank you for your response. I can only reiterate what was said in my initial posting....despite numerous attempts to receive sect 17 paper work, this has not been forthcoming. You say in your response that this has now been provided, but it hasn't. Further, at no point has anybody discussed current risks with the family...apart from the member of staff who referred to my relative as sinister.

You mention your new carers support email service...I think maybe you would need to explain the remit of this service and how it is managed and by who? Is there a phone alternative for those who don't use email?


Response from Patrick Crolla, Acting Ward Manager, Rowan 1, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust


I note that a copy of the S17 paperwork has been produced and is currently ready for collection in the ward nursing office.

We have recently established an email address solely for the use of carers to allow more access to support for carers- it is felt that this will be an especially useful resource for relatives that do not live in the UK, but is available to all.

I view all e-mails myself, as well as our own Carers Lead on the ward, with a view to offering support, education and signposting to services within the area that may be of assistance.

Our phone number is the same contact number as provided to all carers upon admission.

I am keen to investigate why discussion re: risk and planned S17 leave has not been discussed in reviews or via other methods and will be investigating why this has not felt to have occured, with a view to improving ward practices.

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