Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020

17.

Amendment of section 17 of Act of 2001

17. Section 17 of the Act of 2001 is amended—

(a) in subsection (1) —

(i) by the substitution of the following paragraph for paragraph (c):

“(c) direct in writing a member of the panel of consultant psychiatrists established under section 33(3)(b) or a consultant psychiatrist, other than the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the care and treatment of the patient concerned, to—

(i) subject to subsection (6), examine the patient concerned,

(ii) interview the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the care and treatment of the patient, and

(iii) review the records relating to the patient,

in order to determine in the interest of the patient whether the patient is suffering from a mental disorder and to give a report in writing within 14 days on the results of the examination, interview and review to the tribunal to which the matter has been referred and to give a copy of the report to the legal representative of the patient,”,

and

(ii) by the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (c):

“(d) direct in writing the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the care and treatment of the patient concerned to give a report in writing to the tribunal to which the matter has been referred no earlier than the day before the date of the relevant sitting of the tribunal on his or her opinion as to whether the patient continues to suffer from a mental disorder and to give a copy of the report to the legal representative of the patient.”,

(b) by the substitution of the following subsection for subsection (3):

“(3) If the consultant psychiatrist to whom a direction has been given under subsection (1)(c) is unable to comply with the direction, he or she shall so notify the Commission in writing and the Commission shall give a direction under subsection (1)(c) to another member of the panel of consultant psychiatrists or another consultant psychiatrist other than the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the care and treatment of the patient concerned.”,

and

(c) by the insertion of the following subsections after subsection (4):

“(5) It shall be a defence for a person who is charged with an offence under subsection (4) of failing to co-operate with a consultant psychiatrist in the performance of his or her functions under this section to prove that the failure was attributable to the exigencies of the public health emergency.

(6) In the event that a consultant psychiatrist concerned is unable, due to the exigencies of the public health emergency, to carry out an examination, whether in person or by other appropriate means, under subsection (1)(c)(i), he or she shall set out the particular reasons for being unable to do so in his or her report to the tribunal under that subsection.”.