Mental Health Act review:
Ensuring choice and dignity
The government has completed a public consultation on its plans to review the law around how people will receive mental health treatment under the Mental Health Act. The fundamental principles of these reforms are choice and dignity – ensuring people’s views are respected.
The changes recommended by the review give much greater legal weight to service users’ wishes and preferences – addressing the needs of particular groups affected by the Act including people from minority ethnic communities. Overall, these changes should reduce the use of the Act and give people more say in their own treatment.
The recommendations include:
- introducing ‘advance choice documents’ so that people can set out their wishes about future care and treatment, which would have more weight than they do in the current system
- advocates for all mental health inpatients (whether voluntary or detained) without having to ask for one
- advocates who are skilled in responding to people’s cultural needs
- a statutory care and treatment plan to include people’s wishes
- earlier access to a second opinion and a right to appeal against treatments
- more scope for tribunals to respond to people’s concerns about their care
- choice of which friend or family member has a role in decisions about sectioning and care, by making the current ‘nearest relative’ role a ‘nominated person’ that you can choose yourself
- a complete end to the use of police cells when initially detained and an end to the use of police vehicles for taking people to hospital
- a systematic approach to improving how mental health services respond to their local population’s ethnic and cultural background
People’s rights and experience of mental healthcare
Richmond Borough Mind welcomes the review’s recommendations to increase people’s choice and dignity when they are subject to the Mental Health Act, and for promoting race equality in mental health services and the use of the Act.
We believe the review’s recommendations will make significant improvements to people’s rights and experience of mental healthcare.
You can read the full Mental Health Act Review report and recommendations here.