AMHP = Approved Mental Health Professional
CQC - AMHP briefing document, p. 4
The Mental Health Act (MHA) places on local authorities the duty to provide AMHP services. Local authorities are responsible for ensuring that enough AMHPs are available to carry out their roles under the MHA, including assessing patients to decide whether an application for detention should be made. They should have arrangements in place to provide a 24-hour service that can respond to patients' needs in a timely way.
Currently, each local authority is responsible for its own AMHP provision, approval system and standards. There are no set governance processes for how local authorities should run their AMHP services, and in recent years there have been a number of policy and practice developments that have had a direct effect on the way AMHP services are run.
Local authorities have a number of key duties in the MHA regulations in relation to AMHPs who carry out assessments on their behalf, which cannot be delegated to NHS providers. These include:
- Ensuring that all AMHPs have access to professional supervision and support in their role as AMHPs.
- Provide a minimum of 18 hours of refresher training, relevant to the AMHP role each year - as determined by the local authority.
- Responsibility for the health and safety of AMHPs while they are carrying out assessments on their behalf.
- Responsibility for professional competence in their role as AMHP, and for removing or suspending their warrant as necessary.
- Legal indemnity while carrying out the AMHP role.
- Access to legal advice while carrying out AMHP duties.