Sir Simon Wessely has chaired a review of the Mental Health Act, along with his vice chairs Steven Gilbert, Sir Mark Hedley, and Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger. Their Review was published on 6 December 2018, along with an easy-read version.
Aim of the review
Following the Prime Minister’s pledge to scrap the Mental Health Act 1983 as “unfit for purpose”, the review focused on the criticisms aimed at the current Act, and made recommendations to make it fit for purpose.
Summary of recommendations
The recommendations are based around the 4 guiding principles, which the Review suggest should be part of the new Act and any regulations and forms. Below are the 4 principles with a few of the more significant recommendations.
1. Choice and autonomy – prioritising the expressed views and choices of service users.
2. Least restriction – avoiding detention in hospital where possible.
3.Therapeutic benefit – use of the Mental Health Act should be minimal, and patients should be supported to improve and work towards discharge.
4.The Person as an Individual – value each person as an individual, not just a diagnosis.
A full list of the recommendations made can be found on pages 282 – 299 of the Review.
This is a brief overview to give readers a feel for the approach of the Review. To understand the reasoning for these recommendations, we recommend reading the full report, or at least the summary on pages 16-33.
We welcome a lot of these recommendations and the prioritising of the 4 principles. We can only wait and see how much these recommendations are taken on board, especially given the resource implications for many of them.
If you require help with mental health legal issues please contact us on 01872 272457.