Non-medical approved clinicians: Results of a first national survey in England and Wales

Jennifer Oates, Toby Brandon, Carole Burrell, Selma Ebrahim, John L. Taylor, Paul Veitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
173 Downloads (Pure)


The 2007 amendments to the Mental Health Act, 1983 in England and Wales enabled non-medics to take on the role of legally ‘responsible clinician’ for the overall care and treatment of service users detained under the Act, where previously this was the sole domain of the psychiatrist as Responsible Medical Officer. Following state sanction as an ‘Approved Clinician’, certain psychologists, nurses, social workers or occupational therapists may be allocated as a Responsible Clinician for specific service users. Between 2007 and 2017 only 56 non-medics had become Approved Clinicians. This study reports on a first national survey of 39 non-medical Approved Clinicians. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis of free text answers are presented here. The survey results show the limited uptake of the role, save for in the North Eastern region of England. Non-medical Approved Clinicians were motivated by a combination of altruistic intents (namely a belief that they could offer more psychologically-informed, recovery-oriented care) and desire for professional development in a role fitting their expertise and experience. Barriers and facilitators to wider uptake of the role appear to be: organisational support, attitudes of psychiatrist colleagues and a potentially lengthy and laborious approvals application process. The survey is a starting point to further research on the interpretation and implementation of the range of statutory roles and responsibilities under English and Welsh mental health law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Early online date27 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


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