Monday, 1 April 2013

How to Displace the Nearest Relative, as Told to Sooty

What’s that, Sooty? You want to know what to do if a patient’s Nearest Relative unreasonably objects to making an application for admission under Sec.3 Mental Health Act?

Well, Sooty, that’s an interesting question. Let’s just put the question in context for our readers, shall we?

Let’s say that Sweep became mentally ill and needed to go into hospital for treatment. But Sweep doesn’t want to go into hospital, so an AMHP has to section him.

What’s that, Sooty? Sweep’s completely mental anyway? That’s not a nice thing to say, is it, boys and girls?

Anyway, let’s get back to our example. The AMHP has to consult with Sweep’s Nearest Relative if he wants to detain him under Sec.3 for treatment. But the Nearest Relative can object to this. If that is the case, then the AMHP cannot proceed with the Sec.3.

What’s that, Sooty? Is Harry Sweep’s Nearest Relative?

That’s a good question, Sooty. Sooty’s full of good questions today, isn’t he, readers? Well, Harry can’t be Sweep’s Nearest Relative because Harry is a human being and Sweep is a glove puppet.

No, Sooty, Richard can’t be Sweep’s NR for the same reason. No, it doesn’t matter how often he puts his hand up Sweep’s backside, he will never be his NR within the meaning of the Act.

Remember, the Nearest Relative is the Nearest Relative is the Nearest Relative.

Anyway, this is just a hypothetical situation, Sooty.

What’s that, Sooty? What does hypothetical mean? Well, it means that it’s not real, it’s made up.

What’s that, Sooty? Am I made up? No, Sooty, The Masked AMHP is a real person, but he’s got a pretend name.

Anyway, this is where displacement comes in. You see, Sooty, if the AMHP thought that Sweep’s NR was being unreasonable in not allowing the AMHP to section him, the AMHP can apply for the NR to be displaced.

There are lots of different things in the Mental Health Act, Sooty. It’s a bit like the ingredients in a cake. When you mix them all up and cook them, then a nice big Act comes out at the end.

What’s that, Sooty? You’d like to make a nice lemon meringue pie? Well, you can get on with that while I carry on explaining to all the boys and girls about displacing the NR.

I’ll tell, you what, I’ll hold the bowl while you put the ingredients in and mix them all together.

So, the AMHP has to go to court and see the Judge in order to get the NR displaced. The AMHP should ask the patient if they have any preferences, otherwise the AMHP can nominate someone, such as the local AMHP lead, or the Director of Adult Services, to act as the patient’s NR.

Now careful squeezing that lemon, Sooty – ouch, it’s gone right in my eye!

Now where was I? Oh yes, the court can then appoint that person if they are satisfied that the NR has acted unreasonably. They can even appoint someone else, anyone they like, in fact.

What are you doing with that whisk, Sooty? You’ve got egg white on my tie!

So, has that answered your question, Sooty?

Now careful, Sooty, try and keep the whipped egg white and the icing sugar in the bowl.

My, that’s nice and light, isn’t it, Sooty?

What’s that, Sooty, it’s so light you can lift the whole bowl over my head?

Watch out, Sooty, you’re going to spill it...

Ooooooh! Sooty, look what you’ve done now! You’ve emptied the bowl all over my head! It’s dripping off my ears!

Oh, Sooty! You are a naughty bear! I’m going to have to get cleaned up now!

Bye bye, readers. Bye bye!


  1. I think you'd have got morse sense from Sue the Panda. Any thoughts on what is and what isn't 'unreasonable objection' and any experiences of involvement in such a proceeding? I wonder if other family members might ever occasionally be nominated by the Court?

  2. Who`s your nearest relative, Masked AMHP? Just wondering....