If someone you care about becomes unwell,
they may need to be detained in hospital under the Mental
Health Act, or 'sectioned'.
If this happens, they can nominate a 'named person', who will
look out for their interests.
This nomination should be written, signed and witnessed.
Some changes to named persons provisions were made under the
Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015 and introduced on 30 June 2017.
For a named person nomination made after 30 June 2017 to be valid,
the nominated person has to consent in writing to be the named
person. The nominated person's consent needs to be witnessed.
Nominations of named persons made before 30 June 2017 will
continue to be valid, even if the named person has not agreed in
The named person has the right:
- to be consulted when certain things happen - such as when a short-term detention, or an
application for a compulsory treatment order
(CTO) is being considered;
- to be notified of certain changes to circumstances, for example
if a short-term detention is revoked;
- to receive copies of certain records or information, including
the record made if treatment has been given which conflicts with an
- to make applications or appeals to the Mental Health Tribunal for
Scotland (the Tribunal), to legal representation for this with
non-means tested Legal Aid, and to speak and give, or lead evidence
at a hearing;
- to consent to two medical examinations taking place at the same
time, if the person who is ill is not capable of giving
- to ask for an assessment of the ill person's needs from the
local authority and/or health board.
When do these rights apply?
You can be nominated as a named person at any time, but your
rights as a named person only apply if the person who is ill is
being treated under the Mental Health Act, or if there is an
application for this to happen. If the person who is unwell is
being treated informally, named person rights do not apply.
What if I don't want to be a named person?
If someone nominates you as their named person, you should make
sure you understand what that involves. If you do not want to be
their named person, you can decide not to consent to this.
If you are already their named person, and decide you no longer
want to be, you can refuse to continue to be the named person.
If you gave your written consent, you can withdraw that.
What if the person I care for chooses someone else as their
With a couple of exceptions, a person can choose whoever they
like to be their named person. If you think that the choice of
named person is inappropriate, you can apply to the Tribunal to have the nomination
reviewed. The Tribunal will make whatever decision they think is in
the ill person's interests.
What if the person I care for is under 16?
The named person will automatically be the parent or guardian,
the local authority or carer.
What if the person I care for is not capable of appointing me
as their named person?
The 2015 Act has made provisions for people other than a patient
to make applications or appeals to the Tribunal about their Mental
Health Act Order. These people are called 'listed initiators'.
Listed initiators can only make applications or appeals under these
provisions if the patient lacks capacity to do so themselves, and
if they do not have a named person.
Listed initiators include:
- The patient's nearest relative
- The patient's primary carer (if they have one)
- The patient's welfare guardian (if they have one)
- The patient's welfare attorney (if they have appointed a
welfare attorney, and this is operational)
If the patient does not want their primary carer, or nearest
relative, to act as a listed initiator, they can make a written
declaration to say they cannot do this.
Where can I find templates for named person and listed
The Scottish Government has provided suggested templates for
named persons nominations, declarations and consent on the Mental
Health Act forms page.
On this page this is also a template for a person to use to make
a declaration that they do not wish their primary carer, or nearest
relative, to act as a listed initiator for them.
Named person and listed initation
Further guidance about named persons
This is a link to the
Scottish Government's guidance on named persons.*
*NB this Scottish Government guidance on named persons has not
yet been updated with the changes introduced by the Mental Health
(Scotland) Act 2015. Some parts of it are therefore out of date.
They are currently working on new guidance. We have included an
overview of the main changes to named persons provisions on our
information page 'Named persons