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Safeguarded treatments

Some treatments require extra, special permissions, or safeguards. If you do not give your consent to them, these treatments cannot be given without a second opinion from a specially trained psychiatrist, or designated medical practitioner (DMP).

Sometimes, when people are very unwell, they are unwilling or unable to agree to have treatment. In some cases, you may be forced to have treatment, in hospital or in the community.

There are strict rules about when this can happen, which are contained in the Mental Health Act. The rules are different for different types of treatment and situations.

These treatments include:

  • Artificial feeding (used to be called forced feeding)
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Other treatments that act directly on your brain (like neurosurgery)
  • Medication where the purpose is to reduce sex drive
  • Any medication that goes on for longer than two months

If your doctor wants to use any of these treatments, they will contact the Mental Welfare Commission to arrange a visit from a DMP.

Sometimes, when people are unwell, they may need to have treatment, even if they don't want it. There are strict rules about when this can happen.