Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is seeking people to join a team of volunteers that ensures the rights of people detained under the Mental Health Act are protected.

The volunteers will be part of the Trust’s Mental Health Act hospital managers’ team that is responsible for making sure that patients are only detained in hospital as the Mental Health Act allows. The managers can hear appeals against detention under the Act and can also review whether or not a patient can be discharged.

The Trust is running an event on Tuesday 3 December, 5.30pm to 6.30pm, at New Mill, Victoria Road, Saltaire, for people across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, who are interested in taking up the specialist volunteering role.  The event will give people the opportunity to hear from the Trust’s chair, Cathy Elliott, about the crucial part that the hospital manager plays in the Trust’s work, as well as a solicitor and other Trust staff to find out what the volunteer role involves and how to apply.

Teresa O’Keefe, Mental Health Act Advisor at the Care Trust, said: “The voluntary hospital manger role would be of interest to people that have a keen interest in mental health and are able to reach the right decision for the individual and the wider community, balancing risk against an individual’s human rights, based on the information provided.

“The role is likely to appeal to people who are passionate about patient care, who can listen to others with empathy and understanding, and have good communication skills.   People don’t need legal expertise but experience in roles using the broader skills would be invaluable for this position.”

Volunteer hospital managers work independently of the Trust but are fully supported in their role by the Trust’s mental health act advisor and training.  People can come from a range of backgrounds and life experiences, and the current team includes people who are working in the public sector and in advocacy roles, a retired teacher and someone with a family experience of mental health issues.

The hospital manager role requires people to give a minimum of half a day a month, with four days for training, and be able to attend hearings at the Trust’s two mental health hospitals at Lynfield Mount in Bradford and the Airedale Centre for Mental Health in Steeton. Volunteers will be fully reimbursed for any travel expenses.