London’s first non-medical Approved Clinician

Dr Michael Witney
Dr Michael Witney

He is the first non-medical Approved Clinician to be chosen in London. He is our very own Dr Michael Witney, Director of Therapies and Consultant Clinical Psychologist. His selection was confirmed by the London Regional Approved Clinician Panel earlier this week. 

In fact there are two more non-medical colleagues expected to be approved soon. They are consultant clinical psychologists, Brian McKenzie and Melanie Place.

An Approved Clinician has to be either: a registered medical practitioner; a registered psychologist; a mental health or learning disability nurse; a registered occupational therapist or a registered social worker, who has undergone specific training relating to the application the Mental Health Act. Approved Clinicians (ACs) have various responsibilities under the Act. These include acting as the Responsible Clinician (RC) for detained and Supervised Community Treatment patients and so have overall responsibility for a patient's case.

The Mental Health Act's Code of Practice states: "A patient's Responsible Clinician should be the available Approved Clinician with the most appropriate expertise to meet the patient's main treatment needs. The choice of RC should be based on the individual needs of the patient concerned. Where psychological therapies are central to the patient's treatment it may be appropriate for a psychologist to act as RC."

A delighted Dr Witney said: "Prior to 2008 a patient detained under the Mental Health Act required a Responsible Medical Officer or RMO to manage their care under the Act. This was the exclusive domain of consultant psychiatrists. The Act was amended and implemented in October 2008. One of the changes is that new roles were created under the Act. The previous role of RMOs has been replaced with two new roles, Approved Clinician and Responsible Clinicians. Once you gain Approved Clinician status you then become eligible to be a Responsible Clinician.

"Approved Clinicians take several years to achieve the level of expertise required which includes lots of extra studying. Those that make the grade are all senior clinicians. They have all added higher levels of competency to their skills particularly in relation to the application of Mental Health Act law."

Published on 24th May 2013