Exploring professionals’ understanding, interpretation and implementation of the ‘appropriate medical treatment test’ in the 2007 amendment of the Mental Health Act 1983.


Publication date


Series/Report no

BJPsych Open;3(1)


Cambridge University Press

Document type


Background The appropriate medical treatment test (ATT), included in the Mental Health Act (MHA) (1983, as amended 2007), aims to ensure that detention only occurs when treatment with the purpose of alleviating a mental disorder is available. Aims As part of the Assessing the Impact of the Mental Health Act (AMEND) project, this qualitative study aimed to assess professionals' understanding of the ATT, and its impact on clinical practice. Method Forty-one professionals from a variety of mental health subspecialties were interviewed. Interviews were coded related to project aims, and themes were generated in an inductive process. Results We found that clinicians are often wholly relied upon for the ATT. Considered treatment varied depending on the patient's age rather than diagnosis. The ATT has had little impact on clinical practice. Conclusions Our findings suggest the need to review training and support for professionals involved in MHA assessments, with better-defined roles. This may enable professionals to implement the ATT as its designers intended.




Permanent URL (for citation purposes)

  • https://hdl.handle.net/10642/7291