Monday, December 11, 2023

Preparing for Mental Health Act reforms

Wes Streeting, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has said that one of the first pieces of legislation he would bring forward in government would be on reforming the Mental Health Act (MHA) (see Guardian article). The current government did not include reform of the MHA in the King’s Speech for the current parliamentary session (see eg. Community Care article).

Reforms need to be taken forward in line with the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee recommendations (see previous post) and recent WHO/OHCHR guidance (see another previous post). The Centre for Mental Health has produced a helpful document on A Mental Health Act Commissioner for England, a new role proposed by the Scrutiny Committee. I would like to see the opportunity taken, in the time available before legislation comes back again to parliament, to consider further:-
  • prohibiting civil detentions to secure facilities
  • improving advocacy by creating an integrated service of Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs), mental health lawyers and independent experts 
  • extending the role and powers of the Mental Health Tribunal (MHT) to treatment as well as detention decisions, thereby making the role of Second Opinion Approved Doctors (SOADs) redundant
See my submission to the Scrutiny Committee for further details.

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