With the Supreme Court having recently heard the Worcestershire appeal on local authority responsibility for section 117 aftercare, we consider the current legal framework for health responsibility.
New regulations for determining Integrated Care Board (“ICB”) responsibility for section 117 Mental Health Act aftercare came into force on 1 July 2022. Indeed, it is curious that these regulations have been in force for nearly a year now but very few ICBs and local authorities appear to be aware of them and their implications for determining section 117 aftercare responsibility.
But the implications are worth knowing about. By way of example, these regulations move the basis of section 117 aftercare health responsibility from ordinary residence to GP registration and appear to amount to a wholesale shift in responsibility based on where a person was registered with GP on 1 July 2023 (for individuals already eligible for section 117 aftercare or detained in hospital under a qualifying detention as at that date). The regulations also remove the split between commissioning and funding responsibility that was put in place by the 2020 Who Pays guidance (albeit not for all cases!).
In time, the regulations are likely to make determining responsibility simpler; however, for persons who were eligible for section 117 or detained under the Mental Health Act on 1 July 2022, determining responsibility will likely be a tricky exercise.
We have put together a training package to provide commissioners with an up to date overview of the current section 117 legal framework for health and social care. For further information on this training package, please see here.