Patients and their families can seek external support and information on their rights from an independent organisation known as an advocate or advocacy service. At St Andrew’s this service is delivered by POhWER. Advocates from POhWER make regular visits to each ward.


Absent Without Leave – for example where a patient has had permission (‘leave’) to go into the grounds or community, but hasn’t returned on time.

Best interests

In mental health this term relates to the Mental Capacity Act. Anything done for a person who can’t make decisions for themselves must be in their ‘best interests’. It means considering what’s right for the patient, not anyone else. The law has a checklist of things to consider when deciding someone’s best interests. 


Restricted or banned items than must not be brought into a ward or building – e.g. mobile phones, keys.


This term relates to the Mental Capacity Act. Having ‘mental capacity' means that a person is able to make their own decision about something. ‘Lacking capacity’ means that a person is not well enough to make their own decision.


Everything we do to look after the patient and help them make progress

Care pathway

How the care we provide is planned to help the patient make progress – to a lower level of security, to live in the community or to move to a different ward. 

Care Programme Approach (CPA)

Regular CPA meetings take place at St Andrew’s to discuss each  patient’s case and how best to care for them

Code of Practice

The Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act both have a Code of Practice, to make sure doctors and nurses are following the law.

Clinical Team

This is the group of experts that are working with your patient and may include psychiatrists, psychologists and Occupational Therapists


A person is detained if they are being kept in hospital under a section of the Mental Health Act.


A dietitian is a qualified specialist in nutrition and diet. At St Andrew’s dietitians work with patients and our catering team to ensure people understand the importance of healthy eating. 


In a hospital or care home, your liberty can normally only be taken away if health professionals use procedures called the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS), to ensure there is good reason for you to be detained.

Informal patient

A term that relates to a patient that has chosen to stay at St Andrew’s voluntarily. They are not detained under the Mental Health Act. 


‘Leave’ is permission for someone detained at St Andrew’s to go into the hospital grounds or local community. There are different terms, such as ‘grounds leave, ‘community leave’ or ‘section 17 leave’. This last term is where patients are allowed short periods of leave from hospital in the run-up to being discharged.

Mental Capacity Act

This is a law to support and protect people who can’t make their own decisions due to a mental disorder. Our staff must use this law to decide whether a person lacks capacity to make a certain decision.

Mental disorder

A term used in the Mental Health Act to describe mental health conditions. In the Act, "mental disorder" means any disorder or disability of the mind.

Mental Health Act 1983

A law in England and Wales which tells people with mental health problems what their rights are regarding assessment and treatment in hospital; treatment in the community and pathways into hospital. These rights can be civil or criminal.

Nearest relative

The law dictates which family member has responsibilities and powers when someone is sectioned. These include the right to information and to request a patient is discharged in certain situations. The nearest relative is not the same as next of kin.

Nursing team

The nursing team are the people that provide the everyday care and support to patients on their ward. They are distinct from the clinical team. 


A qualified medical doctor who specialises in mental health. As a doctor, they can prescribe medication as well as recommend other forms of treatment.


A specialist in psychology, trained in several models of psychological therapy. Clinical psychologists have completed a doctorate in the subject.

Section (sectioned, on a section)

The specific part of the law that means a person is to be detained under the Mental Health Act. Common sections include:
Section 2: allows a person to be detained for up to 28 days to be assessed and treated
Section 3: means that a person can be detained for up to six months for treatment in hospital. Detention can be renewed for a further six months, then yearly.
Section 37 and 37/41 allows the courts, on the advice of two doctors, to sentence a person to hospital rather than prison.

Service user

Can refer to either a patient that is living here, or someone not staying at St Andrew’s that is using our services. 

Therapy services

At St Andrew’s therapy can refer to a wide range of activities, from medical and psychological therapy to art, music and sport.