Patient held informally in hospital had his rights violatedBMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7471.874-a (Published 14 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:874
- Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
A man with severe learning disabilities who was held informally in a psychiatric hospital for more than four months without the safeguards applying to patients “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act won a ruling at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg last week that his human rights had been violated.
The ruling has important resource implications for the NHS, which will have to provide extra safeguards for tens of thousands of patients—those who are apparently “compliant,” mainly with learning disabilities and dementia—who lack the capacity to consent or to object to treatment.
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, solicitor …