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GPs are warned over sectioning warrants

Any GP named on a warrant to section a patient under the Mental Health Act must attend when the patient is detained, the Court of Appeal has made clear.

Failure to do so could lead to a claim for damages for unlawful detention, London-based health law firm Capsticks has warned.

The warning followed a case where a person was removed and detained from their home after a warrant had been issued, which named a consultant psychiatrist and a GP.

The GP failed to attend and the consultant psychiatrist sent his specialist registrar instead.

The Court of Appeal ruled that because the GP and consultant named on the warrant did not attend, the removal and subsequent detention were 'unlawful'.

A spokesman for Capsticks said: 'It is important to be able to justify at the time a warrant is issued why a particular doctor should or should not attend at its execution.

'If an individual medical practitioner is named on a warrant they must be available to attend at its execution.'

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