Health Services: Missing Persons

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 11th November 2021.

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Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what requirements his Department places on hospitals and healthcare settings in respect of (a) preventing and (b) responding to missing persons episodes.

Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the report by Missing People entitled, The multi-agency response for adults missing from health and care settings: A national framework for England, published in October 2020.

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Providers registered under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 must notify the Care Quality Commission (CQC) about unauthorised absences of people detained or liable to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (the Act).

In addition, the Mental Health Act Code of Practice requires all hospital managers to ensure that there is a clear written policy about the action to be taken when a detained patient, or a patient on a Community Treatment Order, goes missing. All relevant staff should be familiar with this policy and hospital managers should agree their policy with other agencies – such as the police and ambulance services – as necessary.

The Code of Practice also requires that the police are informed immediately if a patient is missing who is considered to be particularly vulnerable, dangerous, and/or is subject to restrictions under Part III of the Act.

With the exception of NHS trusts, providers registered with CQC also need to inform it about police involvement. However, all providers are responsible for providing CQC with information about safeguarding incidents through its statutory notifications which could include risks to people who go missing from a service.

No formal assessment has been made of the implications of the report by Missing People.

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