On 17 November 2006 the government announced its plan to introduce a Bill to make a range of amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983. One of the proposals is to introduce supervised treatment in the community to ‘ensure that patients comply with treatment and enable action to be taken to prevent relapse’ (Department of Health, 2006).
Two conditions need to be fulfilled to facilitate continuous treatment in the community. First, there has to be a mechanism to ensure that a patient participates in their treatment (including taking prescribed medication) while they remain in the community. Second, there must be a way to ensure continuity of this without interfering with the patients' status in the community.Over the past 20 years, the courts in England and Wales have evolved case law governing the treatment of people with mental disorders in the community based on interpretation of the Mental Health Act 1983. What has emerged is that section 17 of the 1983 Act provides sufficient provisions for the supervised treatment of patients while they remain largely in the community.