Skip to main content

Being a named person

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 writing.

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 advance statement
  • 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 consent;
  • 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 named person?

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 initiator documents?

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 templates

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'.