'Impaired ability' criterion for compulsory mental health treatment

This study focuses on the compulsory treatment of patients under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. The main objective is to assess relevant professional groups’ views about how the new ‘significantly impaired ability’ criterion is used, including potential differences between groups, the impact on decisions about compulsory treatment and the setting for treatment. The study makes use of quantitative and qualitative methodologies using questionnaires and one-to one interviews with psychiatrists, lawyers and Tribunal members.

The main focus is whether there is any dissention between groups in relation to how the criterion is being applied and any differences in criteria/approach for hospital and community based CTOs. Any differences found in the use of the impaired ability criterion will give direction to how this might need to be addressed as well as helping to clarify advice given to professionals, either through the Code of Practice or specific organisations.

Project details



Professor Jacqueline Atkinson, University of Glasgow

Grant amount and start date:


1 March 2009