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Adult Social Care Glossary, v 0.41

Approved mental health professional


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Definition or reference in secondary legislation
The Mental Health (Approved Mental Health Professionals) (Approval) (England) Regulations 2008, Reg. 3; Schedule 1; Schedule 2

(1) An LSSA [defined in Regulation 2 as "a local social services authority in England"] may only approve a person to act as an AMHP if it is satisfied that the person has appropriate competence in dealing with persons who are suffering from mental disorder.
(2) In determining whether it is satisfied a person has appropriate competence, the LSSA must take into account the following factors--
(a) that the person fulfils at least one of the professional requirements, and
(b) the matters set out in Schedule 2.
(3) Before an LSSA may approve a person to act as an AMHP who has not been approved, or been treated as approved, before in England and Wales, the person must have completed within the last five years a course approved by the General Social Care Council or the Care Council for Wales.

SCHEDULE 1 - Professional Requirements
The professional requirements are as follows--
(a) a social worker registered with the General Social Care Council;
(b) a first level nurse, registered in Sub-Part 1 of the Nurses' Part of the Register maintained under article 5 of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001, with the inclusion of an entry indicating their field of practice is mental health or learning disabilities nursing;
(c) an occupational therapist registered in Part 6 of the Register maintained under article 5 of the Health Professions Order 2001; or
(d) a chartered psychologist who is listed in the British Psychological Society's Register of Chartered Psychologists and who holds a relevant practising certificate issued by that Society.

SCHEDULE 2 - Matters to be taken into account to determine competence [see source legislation for full detail]
1. Key Competence Area 1: Application of Values to the AMHP Role
2. Key Competence Area 2: Application of Knowledge: The Legal and Policy Framework
3. Key Competence Area 3: Application of Knowledge: Mental Disorder
4. Key Competence Area 4: Application of Skills: Working in Partnership
5. Key Competence Area 5: Application of Skills: Making and Communicating Informed Decisions

CQC - AMHP briefing document, p. 3

Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) work on behalf of local authorities to carry out a variety of functions under the Mental Health Act (MHA). One of their key responsibilities is to make applications for the detention of individuals in hospital, ensuring the MHA and its Code of Practice are followed. It is the AMHP's duty, when two medical recommendations have been made, to decide whether or not to make the application for the detention of the person who has been assessed under the MHA, also known as sectioning. This includes considering the correct legal frameworks (Mental Capacity Act, including Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards), including alternatives to admission, ensuring that the patient is involved, and identifying and involving their nearest relative . Each local authority must make sure an AMHP service is provided, and they are responsible for the approval and registration of AMHPs. Most AMHPs are social workers, but AMHPs can also come from a range of professions, for example psychology or nursing. There is no national database that tells us how many AMHPs there are in England or that captures how many social workers are also authorised as an AMHP. Typically, individuals will be authorised by the local authority, but will work across a variety of teams in healthcare providers, including community mental health teams, and crisis resolution and home treatment teams. They will also work in emergency duty teams, which are predominantly local authority employed and led.

Plain English definition
Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) Jargon Buster

A professional with specialist training who can be called on to arrange for a person to have their mental health assessed, to decide whether they should be admitted to hospital for their own safety or the safety of others. The approved professional's main job may be social worker, occupational therapist, community mental health nurse or psychologist.

Source: Stakeholder discussions

Schedule 1 of the Regulations (2008 No. 1206) state that an AMHP must be a social worker, a first level mental health or LD nurse, an occupational therapist or a chartered psychologist

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