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Mental Health Act 1983: Final report on Modernisation

On 6 December 2018, an independent review, ordered by the Government, of the Mental Health Act 1983 produced its final report.

The report concludes that detention under Mental Health Act 1983 was "too often experienced as awful" and undignified for service users, particularly those from black and ethnic minority groups.

What is recommended?
The report does not recommend that the Mental Health Act 1983 and the Mental Capacity Act (MCA 2005) be merged immediately, but proposes a number of changes at this time including:

  • New rights for patients to legally challenge their treatment;
  • More frequent opportunities to challenge detention;
  • Legally binding advanced Care Plans so that the patient can express how they want to be treated if they are sectioned;
  • A requirement for doctors to record when and why they chose to ignore patient requests;
  • An end to police cells being used as places of safety, and less frequent use of police cars to transport patients; and
  • The right to use a “nominated person” to have control of patients care if they are sectioned.

There are also proposed measures to increase the role and responsibilities of the Mental Health Tribunal. This includes dealing with challenges to Community Treatment Orders, that the local authority be more involved in safeguarding investigations and that there should be a statutory duty for local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups to work together to deliver Statutory Care Plans.

What has been the reception?
Mental health charities have shown overwhelming support of the recommendations and the Government has stated that the review will be used to make changes to the legislation.

Please click here for the full report.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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