Consent to prescribed psychiatric treatment

SACAT can:


•    give written consent to prescribed psychiatric treatment for a person with mental illness in some circumstances.

Prescribed psychiatric treatment means the following types of medical treatment
•    electro convulsive therapy (ECT) and
•    neurosurgery.

When will SACAT give consent to prescribed psychiatric treatment?

SACAT must not provide consent to prescribed psychiatric treatment unless it is satisfied of certain matters set out in the Mental Health Act 2009 (s 42 and s 43)).

In relation to ECT, SACAT must be satisfied that:
•    the patient has a mental illness
•    the treatment has been authorised by a psychiatrist who has examined the patient
•    the patient is incapable of making decisions on his/her own behalf and cannot give written consent to the treatment
•    a medical agent or guardian cannot give substituted written consent for the patient (this includes a substitute decision-maker under an ACD with authority to give this consent or a guardian with authority to make decisions about medical treatment), or
•    if the patient is a child, the parent or guardian of the child cannot give written consent for the patient.

In relation to neurosurgery, SACAT must be satisfied that:
•    the patient is an adult and has a mental illness
•    the treatment has been authorised by a psychiatrist who is to carry it out and by 2 psychiatrists (at least 1 of whom is a senior psychiatrist) each of whom has separately examined the patient
•    the patient cannot give consent to the treatment and has not given written consent.

Who can apply?

A medical practitioner or mental health clinician can apply to SACAT for this consent.

Right to Review of a SACAT decision (Internal Review)

There is a right to Review of a SACAT decision to grant consent to prescribed psychiatric treatment.

When can the treatment be carried out?

If SACAT provides consent to prescribed psychiatric treatment, the treatment can be given immediately unless SACAT, or the Supreme Court, orders a stay of the operation of the decision on application, or on its own initiative, until any Internal Review of the decision has been finally determined. If a “stay” is ordered the treatment cannot take place until that order is set aside by SACAT or the Supreme Court after the Internal Review is finally determined.

Who can apply for Review of a SACAT decision (Internal Review)?

 An application for Review of a SACAT decision about consent to prescribed psychiatric treatment can be made by:

•    the applicant for consent
•    the person that the application is about
•    the Public Advocate
•    any person who presented evidence or material or made submissions to SACAT about the consent application
•    any other person who satisfies SACAT that he or she has a proper interest in the matter.