MENTAL HEALTH ACT REVIEW GROUP
AGREED COMMON THEMES FOR NEW MENTAL HEALTH ACT
- A free independent advocate should be made available to everyone at all times, from the point of assessment; and the Government should provide adequate resources for this on a national basis.
- Advance directives should be encouraged and given statutory enforcement in the Act; such that a person who has lost capacity (whether detained or not) has the same rights as someone who has retained capacity.
- The new legislation should offer people an individual enforceable right to a comprehensive assessment of their needs; and to have their identified needs met with good quality and effective services.
- We support the formation of new independent tribunals, as long as they comprise a representative breadth of experience (including that of service users), and have an appropriate appeals procedure.
- We are concerned that the current law:
(a) Takes insufficient account of people's capacity to make their own treatment decisions;
(b) Leaves those deemed to lack capacity without proper protection.
We want to see new legislation address both these issues in conjunction with wider incapacity legislation. Incapacity must not be equated with disagreeing with your doctor. It must also be sensitive to cultural differences.
- The aim of the new legislation should be to reduce the need for using compulsory powers.
- Where treatment is given without consent there should be safeguards such as the right to advocacy, a second opinion, independent review, authorised representatives, controls on the safety of treatment, and a role for an appropriate non-medical person.
Supported by Mental Aftercare Association, Community Psychiatric Nurses Association Afiya Trust