Sunday, May 06, 2018

Taking the Independent MHA Review forward

Akiko Hart has a MIA blog post about the interim report of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act (see eg. previous post). As she says, it may be difficult to see how changing legislation in itself could necessarily address rising detention rates and racial disparities in detention.

The interim report is disappointing because it does not specifically mention institutional racism (see previous post). Nor is reference made to the rights-based report of the UN Special Rapporteur, which takes into account the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) (see previous post). It’s also difficult to know what the interim report means when it says “We are  not  persuaded that CTOs [Community Treatment Orders] should  remain in their current form“, when CTOs probably should never have been introduced in the first place.

What is central is the dignity and respect of detained patients. The Independent Review has heard plenty of evidence of unacceptable, including abusive, treatment. The interim report does not specifically mention the Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC), whose functions have been taken over by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Its statutory responsibility is to interview detained patients and investigate their unsatisfactorily dealt with complaints, as well as deal with any other complaints in relation to detained patients. I guess it could be said that CQC has not been fulfilling this statutory function and changes need to be made.

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