Possible reforms to the Mental Health Act 1983
The Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA 1983) is a far reaching Act which has been in place for many decades.
It addresses the issues of vulnerable patients in the United Kingdom and a number of safeguards for them; including, when an individual can be detained and treated for a mental health condition, against their wishes.
Recently, the Department of Health and Social Care (MHA) has launched a consultation on plans to reform the MHA 1983.
This follows a review which found that MHA 1983 does not always work as well as it should for patients, their family and carers and that it requires modernisation, to include developments with regards to advance decision choices for care and treatment.
A number of wide-ranging changes are being proposed and would put “patients at the centre of decisions about their own care and ensure that everyone is treated equally”.
The proposals for reform are based on four principles that have been developed by the Department of Health & Social Care to assist “people with lived experience of the MHA”. The four principles are:
- Least restriction – ensuring that MHA 1983 powers are used in the least restrictive way.
- Choice and autonomy – ensuring service users’ views and choices are respected.
- Treating the person as an individual – ensuring patients are viewed and treated as individuals, rather than applying blanket policies.
- Therapeutic benefit – ensuring patients are supported to get better, so that they can be discharged from the MHA.
A further consultation will take place after 21 April 2021.
Should these proposals be enacted, they are unlikely to come into force until 2022. This will obviously have an impact upon the treatment and care of patients, and the work we undertake within our Court of Protection team. These changes have been eagerly awaited by many and should be welcomed by all. We hope to provide our readers with a further update as these changes unfold.
Should you require assistance on this specific issue please contact the Court of Protection Team at Anthony Gold Solicitors.
*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*