Int J Law Psychiatry. 2022 Jul 11;83:101818. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2022.101818. Online ahead of print.
The Mental Health Act as amended 2007 democratised who could qualify for the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) role to include not only social workers, but psychologists, occupational therapists, and nurses. The amendments raised questions on how to appropriately train AMHPs from the professional groups without social work education to have adequate skills and decision-making capacity when considering the use of compulsory powers. Essential to the AMHP role is the obligation to ‘bear in mind the social perspective’, which incorporates the social dimensions to a persons mental health presentation and is considered a safeguard against the erroneous detention of service users. However, despite claims to further professionalise AMHPs there has been a difficulty defining what AMHP expertise is. This paper draws upon ‘theories of professionalisation’ to argue that the genericism movement and the adoption of New Public Management has limited the professionalisation of AMHPs and therefore adequate implementation of ‘the social perspective’.
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