Consultation launched on proposed changes to the Mental Health Act

    Reforms aim to empower patients and reduce the use of restrictive interventions

      • Sector News
    • 11.01.21

    The Government has launched a consultation into proposed changes to the Mental Health Act (MHA), with the view to ensuring patient's voices are respected and individuals are empowered to shape their own care and treatment.

    The proposed changes build on the recommendations made by Sir Simon Wessely’s independent review of the MHA in 2018 and will ensure the act’s powers are used in the least restrictive way, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said.

    The reforms will also ensure that neither autism or learning disability alone are grounds for detention as well as improving access to community-based mental health support to prevent avoidable detention in hospital.

    There are also proposals to amend the emergency powers used by staff in A&E departments to prevent people from leaving hospital if they do not consent to treatment. This area is also being addressed through changes to the Mental Capacity Act and the introduction of Liberty Protection Standards in place of Deprivation of Liberty Standards expected in April 2022.

    The proposed reforms include piloting culturally appropriate advocates so that patients from all minority ethnic backgrounds are better supported to voice their individual needs and allow sectioned people to nominate family members to represent their best interests if they are unable to do so themselves.

    The DHSC says that the changes are based on four principles:

    ·    Choice and autonomy – ensuring service users’ views and choices are respected
    ·    Least restriction – ensuring the MHA’s powers are used in the least restrictive way
    ·    Therapeutic benefit – ensuring patients are supported to get better, so they can be discharged from the MHA
    ·    The person as an individual – ensuring patients are viewed and treated as individuals

    This link gives the opportunity to share your views on the proposals as part of the Government's consultation exercise.

    The consultation closes on the 21 April 2021.

    CMM: Landmark reform of mental health laws
    CQC: Dr Kevin Cleary responds to the Reforming the Mental Health Act White Paper Reforming the Mental Health Act
    Mind: Long-awaited response to Mental Health Act Review published
    MENCAP: Mencap responds to Mental Health Act reform proposals
    Local Government Association: LGA responds to Mental Health Act reform white paper
    Maybo: CQC publishes guidance on implementing Restraint Reduction Network Training Standards
    Maybo: CQC communicates April 2021 deadline for 'certified training' in restrictive practices

    Maybo perspective

    Maybo supports the proposed changes which should better protect the human rights of minority groups. The changes will also help ensure people with learning disabilities and autism are supported in settings that are appropriate for their needs. This will of course depend on sufficient suitable community placements, which currently there are not.

    The move away from a hospital model will reduce behaviours of concern and the need for restrictive practices, provided the environments are appropriate and have skilled and well led staff.

    Investment in the training of staff and supervisors is critical to success in transforming care

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