Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, 2013

Before the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 (the Act), there were no provisions for compulsory treatment in the community, except under "leave of absence" from hospital, which was allowed by the Mental Health (Scotland) Act (1984).

A compulsory treatment order (CTO) allows for a person to be treated for their mental illness, learning disability or related disorder. A CTO will set out a number of conditions that the person will need to comply with. These conditions may include that the person is liable to be detained in hospital.

When the CTO does not authorise detention in hospital, this is commonly known as a community compulsory treatment order (CCTO). In line with the principle of least restriction, the use of CCTOs has been growing incrementally since their introduction in Scotland in 2005.

The Commission is regularly asked about what can be done when someone subject to a CCTO is not complying with the requirements of the order or has become unwell.

This guide details the provisions available within the Act. The principle of ensuring the minimum restriction on the freedom of the patient that is necessary, must be taken into account by those who are carrying out functions under the Act.