What are you looking for?

Section 117 aftercare

If you or a loved one have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, you may be entitled to free aftercare under section 117. However, there are many people who are entitled to free aftercare who have never been told about it and have therefore been wrongly paying care fees.

We are able to offer full support and assistance to individuals or their representatives entitled to section 117 aftercare services or to challenge retrospective decisions and recover any wrongly paid fees.

Key contact

Michelle Evans

Legal Director

Michelle Evans is a Legal Director in the niche area of continuing healthcare, and has represented many clients, in both England and Wales, in challenging current and retrospective decisions to refuse NHS funded continuing healthcare to long-term nursing home residents.

The Mental Health Act 1982 & Section 117 Aftercare

Section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1982 applies to anyone who has been detained under the following sections:

  • for treatment under section 3 (the most common)
  • under a hospital order under section 37
  • following transfer from prison under section 47 or 48
  • under a hospital direction under section 45A

Please not that section 117 does not apply to individuals who are detained under section 2 of the Mental Health Act.

An individual can be detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act if the individual has:

  • A mental disorder
  • It is necessary for their own health or safety or for the protection of others
  • Their treatment cannot be given unless detained in hospital
  • And doctors must agree that appropriate treatment is available.

Under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act, an individual can be detained for up to six months. This can be renewed or extended by the individual’s responsible clinician. There is no limit to the number of times the section can be renewed.

The responsible clinician can also discharge an individual from the section before it comes to an end.

Your questions answered

Section 117 begins when an individual leaves hospital. Aftercare is the help that an individual gets when they leave hospital.

There is no limit on what services are available to an individual. However, the services:

  • Have to meet the needs of the individual arising from or relating to an individual’s mental disorder and
  • Reduce the chance of the individual being re-admitted to hospital

The Care Act 2014 widened the definition of what constitutes Section 117 aftercare, and it is now sufficient for the need to be related to the mental disorder and not as a result of it.

The Care Act 2014 also states that aftercare services could include:

  • Health care
  • Social care
  • Employment services
  • Supported Accommodation
  • Services to meet the individual’s cultural and spiritual needs and
  • Services that support a person in regaining or enhancing their skills, or learning new skills, in order to cope with life outside hospital

In determining what aftercare services are required for an individual, professionals should consider the individual and their family’s views.

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups are jointly responsible. The area responsible is that where the individual is ordinarily resident before they were detained. The responsibility is fixed and will not change if the individual moves to a different area.

Aftercare services should be provided to an individual as long as they need them. The responsibility to provide aftercare services ends when the individual is discharged from Section 117. For an individual to be discharged, both the local authority and the clinical commissioning group must agree that the individual no longer requires the services.

If the decision to discharge the individual is made, they should be informed and have the reasons for this decision explained to them. They should also be given the opportunity to challenge the decision.

If aftercare services are not provided or an individual disagrees with being discharged, a complaint should be made to the local authority and clinical commissioning group in the first instance. If an individual is dissatisfied by the outcome of the complaint then a complaint can be made to the Local Government Ombudsman and Public Health Service Ombudsman. It however, may be more appropriate to consider issuing judicial review proceedings.

A solicitor would be best placed to advise on this. However, any proceedings for judicial review must be issued promptly and within three months of the decision the individual seeks to challenge.

Next steps

We’re here to get things moving. Drop a message to one of our experts and we’ll get straight back to you.

Call us: 033 3016 2222

Message us