Posted on: 3 February 2020

CNWL NHS FT has once again succeeded in retaining the Section 12 and Approved Clinician Mental Health Act (MHA) Approvals function for the London region. This is the third successful application, to renew the contract since April 2014 and is a mark of the quality of service provided by the London Approvals Team. 

Section 12 MHA and Approved Clinician status gives authority to qualifying registered clinicians to section a person under the MHA Act, among other things. In order to become approved, clinicians must meet statutory government criteria. Their applications are then scrutinised by the London Approvals Panel, run by CNWL.

Retaining this contract means that CNWL will continue to scrutinise applications for this approvals process. The contract has been renewed for three years, with the likelihood of a further two year extension (at the end of three years).

The four regional approval bodies are:

  • North Approval Panel (North East, North West, Yorkshire & Humber)
  • Midlands Approval Panel (East & West Midlands, East of England)
  • London Approval Panel (radius within M25)
  • South Approval Panel (South East, South West and South Central)

What do Approval Panels do?

The role of the Approval bodies is to scrutinise applications for section 12(2) MHA (s12) and Approved Clinician (AC) approval and reapproval; granting approval or reapproval only to those clinicians who meet statutory government criteria.

The Approval bodies are also responsible for the maintenance of a register of approved doctors for the London area, as part of the National Section 12/Approved Clinician Database, and for the approval of s12 and AC approval and reapproval courses.

The Regional Panels hold regular meetings on a quarterly basis and the Chair and Locality manager attend meetings with the DoH s12/AC Approvals manager, with the London Leads for s12 and AC approval and re-approval courses, and National Reference Group (NRG) meetings with other regional approval panels.

Who makes up the London Approvals Panel?

London Panel members are experienced clinicians, mostly psychiatrists, but also two Mental Health Law managers, a psychologist and an occupational therapist. Representation is from all of the Mental Health Trusts in London and clinicians are from a variety of specialty and subspecialty backgrounds and hold, or have held, senior positions within their own organisations.

The Chair of the London Approvals Panel, Dr Masum Khwaja, is a CNWL NHS FT Consultant Psychiatrist, and has been in post since June 2015.