The roles and responsibilities of Mental Health Nurses in relation to the application of the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986

The roles and responsibilities of 1st level Registered Mental Health Nurses (RMN) and Learning disability nurses (LDN) in relation to the application of the Mental Health Order (1986) Northern Ireland are clearly outlined within the Code of Practice issued by the DHSSPSNI. These roles are specific to both the application, validation and monitoring of the MHO 1986. RMNs and LDN's are responsible for the following procedures:

  • Receipt and scrutiny of the application upon admission of a patient.
  • Ensuring the documents are in order by familiarity with the MH Order, including recognising possible errors and being able to refer to an authorised administrative officer for clarity.
  • Ensuring access to a hospital doctor for validation of the medical recommendation
  • Checking admission documents with the ASW.
  • Ensuring that copies of all appropriate admission documents are forwarded to the correct authority.
  • Ensuring through the authorised administrative officer the rectification of applications within the 14 day period stipulated by the Order and that any such alterations/corrections are forwarded to RQIA.
  • Ensuring that subsequent dates for assessment and/or detention are adhered to as directed under the Order. This includes Forms 7, 8, 9 & 10 as well as 22/23.
  • Ensuring Forms 1, 2, 3, & 5 are completed as per the Order with regards to a voluntary patient detained within a hospital setting under the terms of the Mental Health Order.
  • In the event of a medical officer not being available in time, RMNs and LDN's have the responsibility of exercising the Form 6 Nurse's Holding Power in an appropriate manner, based on risk assessment of the factors laid out in the Order and in the Code of Practice. This should then be followed up by the appropriate process for further assessment for detention as outlined in the Order and it is the responsibility of the Nurse in charge to ensure that this is completed.

  • RMN and LDN should ensure that all information leaflets specified in the Order are made available to patients and their carers/NOK as appropriate and in the manner specified in that Article of the Order.
  • The community mental health nurse is responsible for liaising with the GP the ASW coordinator and the ward regarding the impending admission and often plays a significant continuity role with both the service user/carer.