What is a hospital order?
Both the Magistrates and Crown Courts have the power to make a hospital order at the end of a criminal case either under Section 37 or Section 41 of the Mental Health Act (MHA). Orders under S37 allow for a person to be detained in hospital. An order under Section 41 prevents a person being moved to a different hospital or discharged without the Home Secretary being consulted.
These orders are made when someone is convicted of an imprisonable offence but the Court thinks it is more appropriate that they go to hospital rather than prison.
How long does this last?
Orders under S37/41 are usually made without a time limit. This means the orders can continue indefinitely until you are discharged.
How can I be discharged?
Your doctor can discharge you. To do this they need consent of the Home Secretary
A Mental Health Tribunal can discharge you. The tribunal panel hear evidence from the professionals involved in your case before deciding whether they think you still need to be in hospital. The consent of the Home Secretary is not needed for a tribunal to discharge you.