Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Improving the draft Mental Health bill

The draft Mental Health Bill for England and Wales currently undergoing parliamentary scrutiny (see eg. previous post), essentially amounts to an amendment of current legislation. I would have preferred (see eg. previous post) if the government had been more ambitious and looked to replace both the current the Mental Health Act (MHA) and the Mental Capacity Act (MCA). 

As I've also mentioned previously (see post), the Victoria state government in Australia is enacting a new Mental Health and Wellbeing bill, now published in its second reading. I find it an impressive document. It has very clear principles, including decision making principles for treatment and intervention, laid out on the face of the Act, which is not really the case for the draft Mental Health bill, although the White paper said it would do this (see another previous post). As I've also said before, the right to a second opinion from any psychiatrist on both detention and treatment is being strengthened in Victoria, whereas the draft bill does not go far enough in this respect (see eg. previous post). 

The Joint Committee on the draft Mental Health bill has called for evidence (see webpage). It wants to hear views on how the draft Bill could be improved, and how issues identified could be resolved. It lists particular areas of interest but answers do not need to be confined to those topics. Response are required by 16 September 2022. 

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