DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
News Release (2007/0191) issued by The Government News Network on 5
Ivan Lewis and mental health tsar Professor Louis Appleby both
welcomed the final stages of the parliamentary passage of the
Mental Health Bill as a vital step towards modern community services.
The Bill, which completed its passage through Parliament on 4
July, will allow psychiatrists to require patients to take
treatment following discharge from hospital if they are a risk to
themselves or others. It will also strengthen patients'
rights by providing advocacy support for anyone who is detained,
and create new roles for experienced non-medical professionals.
Health minister Ivan Lewis said:
"The Mental Health Bill makes mental health law fit for
purpose in the 21st century. We will consult publicly in the
autumn on the Code of Practice and on regulations to underpin the
legislation, and a comprehensive implementation programme is in
place. As Minister with responsibility for Mental Health, I look
forward to implementing these changes within the wider framework
of investing in and improving mental health services. We will look
to do this in partnership with the many stakeholders in mental
health services, and with service users and their representatives."
Professor Louis Appleby says:
"I am delighted the Mental Health Bill has been passed with
all the main government proposals intact, and that we were able to
reach agreement with the MPs and peers who expressed concerns
about aspects of the Bill.
"These new measures will enable some people with serious
mental health problems to be treated in the community under
supervision, so that their condition can be properly monitored and
steps taken to prevent relapse. This is good for the patients,
their families and for the public generally. The Bill will also
make it easier for patients with personality disorder to get the
treatment they need."
The Bill makes several improvements to previous legislation, including:
new powers to place patients who have been detained in hospital
on Community Treatment Orders, which will ensure that patients
comply with their treatment. This will allow patients to be
treated in the community, and will reduce the risk of their
relapsing. CTOs are already used in Scotland and in other countries;
a new requirement that patients can only be detained if
appropriate treatment is available for their mental disorder or to
treat its symptoms and manifestations;
children and young people to receive treatment for a mental
disorder in an environment that is suitable for their age and
geared to meet their needs. This builds on a commitment made last
November to ensure that, within two years, no child under 16 years
of age is treated on an adult ward. Now all hospital managers will
have a duty to ensure that all patients aged under 18 are placed
in suitable settings, unless needs dictate otherwise.
statutory advocacy services will be introduced to support
patients detained under the Mental Health Act and to champion
more rights for victims of violent and sexual crimes committed by
mentally disordered offenders - they will now know when offenders
are discharged back into the community and have the right to make
representations about their discharge.
tackling two Human Rights incompatibilities, one in relation to
the arrangements for Nearest Relatives under the Mental Health Act
and the other in relation to safeguards for people deprived of
their liberty in their best interests who do not meet the criteria
for treatment and safeguards under the Mental Health Act.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Mental Health Bill has passed for Royal Assent by the
House of Commons.
2. For more than 150 years, it has been recognised that there are
occasions when it is necessary to detain someone with a mental
health problem, and treat them without their consent, in order to
protect them and the public. The Mental Health Act, which
dictated when this can happen, had not been updated since 1983 and
was in urgent need of modernisation.
3. The previous Mental Health Act, which the new Bill updates,
had two major flaws. Firstly, it led to some people with
personality disorders being denied treatment with the risk that
such patients might harm themselves or others. Secondly, the
legislation covered treatment in hospital under direct medical
supervision, but it does not cover care in the community - the
place where someone is most likely to recover and rebuild their
lives. Modern mental health services tend to be community-based,
and delivered by multi-disciplinary professional teams. The new
Bill reflects the modern pattern of services.