Association of Mental Health Providers

Quick links

Response to CQC’s Outcome of Review on Rise of Detentions Under the MHA

A Care Quality Commission review has concluded that there is no single reason why more detentions are being made under the Mental Health Act than ever before, and the rise may be symptomatic of a system ‘under considerable strain’, The Mental Health Act provides authority for hospitals to detain and treat people who have a serious mental disorder and who are putting at risk their health or safety, or the safety of other people. The MHA also provides more limited community-based powers, called community treatment orders and guardianships.

In the ten-year period between 2005/06 and 2015/16, the number of detentions increased by 40% – from 45,484 to 63,622. As part of its role in monitoring the use of the Mental Health Act in England, CQC made a commitment to explore what could be causing this trend, and has published the outcome of its review today.

Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive of Association of Mental Health Providers, commented in response:

“It is concerning that the detention rates under the Mental Health Act have risen by 40% over a decade. As the review has found, there is not one, but several reasons for this increase including changes in service provision, demographic/social changes, legal/policy developments, and data reporting/quality. The important factor is that, in these challenging times, mental health services are delivered effectively and can offer people the support they need at the earliest opportunity, and that the right support is available. We know that although, the legislation has ensured that vital support is provided to vulnerable people in need of help, the legislation can prove to be traumatic in some incidences and is known to be used disproportionately.

“We are pleased to see that CQC have shared their briefing with the Government to aid the independent review led by Sir Simon Wessely, and look forward to seeing the recommendations from the review on how practice can be improved.”


For more information, please contact Dania Hanif, Policy and Communications Lead, on or call 020 7766 7496.


1. For further information about CQC’s briefing on the rise in the use of the Mental Health Act to detain people in England, please visit the CQC website.