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Admission to and discharge from psychiatric hospitals or nursing homes. - For psychiatrists

A patient approaches me voluntarily for admission to the psychiatric hospital for treatment, or a parent brings their minor child; am I bound to admit them?

When a person voluntarily comes to you or a minor child is brought to you for admission and treatment, you shall examine them to assess whether they require treatment as an in-patient. You can then decide to admit them or not within 24 hours. (Section 17, MH Act)

A voluntary patient has asked to be discharged. Am I bound to discharge them? If I do not think it is in their best interests to be discharged as they require further treatment, what can I do?

When a voluntary patient asks to be discharged, you may discharge them within 24 hours if you are satisfied that they no longer require to be treated as in-patients. If you believe it is not in their best interests to be discharged, then within 72 hours of their request, you will have to constitute a Board of two psychiatrists to independently examine the patient. If they are also of the opinion that the patient should be detained, then you may refuse to discharge the patient and continue treatment for up to 90 days. (Section 18, MH Act)