Join our panel and help support local mental health patients

11th September 2023

Detaining people under the Mental Health Act is a big responsibility – and caring, empathetic local people are needed to ensure this is done wisely and appropriately.

Mental Health Act Panels are made up of independent people who review whether Dorset HealthCare has the authority to continue to detain a patient under the Act.

And the NHS Trust is looking for people to take on the important voluntary role of Mental Health Act managers. These panel members will consider verbal and written evidence from doctors, nurses, social workers and others to make a decision on whether to continue a person’s detention or to discharge them.

You’ll need sound English skills and the ability to read complex reports, consider verbal evidence and formulate questions to ask the professionals. You should have a keen interest in, or experience of, mental health and be able to deal with evidence that can sometimes be distressing.

Dorset HealthCare Non-Executive Director Andreas Haimboeck-Tichy said:

“This is a hugely important and satisfying role, which makes a real difference in people’s lives and mental health care in Dorset. We need more people from all walks of life, with a range of experience and perspectives, to ensure the panels carry out their duties in a robust and effective way.”

Applications are welcome from people who can give three to six days a month and have a clean driving licence and access to a vehicle, as some county-wide travel may be involved. Local residents of all different ages, social and ethnic backgrounds are needed to provide diversity and different viewpoints.

Full training will be provided, along with a payment of £50 per hearing or forum meeting attended, plus mileage payments.

For an informal chat about the role please contact Gavin Macfarlane, Mental Health Legislation Manager ( / 01202 492035), or  Kirsty Tubbs, Deputy Mental Health Legislation Manager ( / 01202 492035).

You can apply directly online. Applications close just before midnight on 19 September.

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