William Eichler 06 December 2018

Whitehall to ‘transform’ mental health care

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The Government today announced it will introduce a new Mental Health Bill in order to ‘transform’ mental health care.

The new bill will allow those detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 to nominate a person of their choice to be involved in decisions about their care.

Currently, they have no say on which relative is contacted, which can lead to distant relatives being called upon to make important decisions about care.

People will also be able to express their preferences for care and treatment and have these listed in statutory ‘advance choice’ documents.

The announcement has been made in response to the publication of the final report from the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983, which the Prime Minister announced last October.

The Government has accepted two of the report’s recommendations

‘The disparity in our mental health services is one of the burning injustices this country faces that we must put right,’ said Theresa May.

‘For decades it has somehow been accepted that if you have a mental illness, you will not receive the same access to treatment as if you have a physical ailment. Well, that is not acceptable.

‘I commissioned this review because I am determined to make sure those suffering from mental health issues are treated with dignity and respect, with their liberty and autonomy respected.

‘By bringing forward this historic legislation – the new Mental Health Bill – we can ensure people are in control of their care, and are receiving the right treatment and support they need.’

The president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Glen Garrod, welcomed the publication of the review.

‘ADASS has been pleased to be involved in this review,’ said Mr Garrod.

‘The recommendations in this report are welcome as a contribution to the modernisation of this country’s mental health services, which are about giving people who need these services more control and the specific support they need. 

‘Good mental health services are required both in and outside of hospital settings, and involve housing, primary and community health services and adult social care. 

‘Social work and personal care and support are essential components of good services to support mental wellbeing, and can include ensuring people have somewhere to live, have safe and supportive relationships, and support with income and employment.’

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