Authorised Officer

An Authorised Officer (AO) is a staff member of the mental health services authorised to make an application to a registed medical practitioner for the involuntary admission of an adult to hospital.

(for the purposes of Sec. 9 of the Mental Health Act 2001)

Common reasons for referral/How do I access this service?

(The service is usually accessed by families, carers or health professionals)

You would discuss the mental health of your relative with your GP or a member of the mental health team, and if there were concerns about the mental state of your relative and he or she was refusing assistance then a referral might be appropriate.

What should  I expect?

The AO will usually review the case with all relevant persons prior to visiting with the intention of making an assessment, with regard to the need for an involuntary admission. The AO will usually co-ordinate the visit with the patient’s GP.

What kinds of questions will be asked?

Questions will relate to recent concerns about the patient’s mental health, and what the patient’s views are in relation to the concerns. The AO will try to ascertain if the patient is well enough mentally to manage at home and what support is required to achieve this or what alternatives might be required to ensure the health and safety of the patient and safety of others.

Do I need to bring anything?

No assessments are usually made at the patient’s home

Do I need to bring another person?

A family member can be present

How much time should I allow?

Assessments vary but normally last at least 30 minutes

What happens next?

A decision is made regarding the mental health of the patient and the appropriate care required, this may result in additional support in the community, or an offer of voluntary admission to hospital or if the assessed concerns cannot still be addressed an application for involuntary admission is made to the GP.

What if I can’t attend an appointment?

Alternative appointments will be made