The UK Government has published its response to the public consultation on Reforming the Mental Heath Act.
The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, chaired by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, which reported in December 2018, concluded that the current Act does not work as well as it should for patients, nor for their families and carers. It proposed recommendations for change.
Following the Independent Review, the Government published its white paper in January which accepted the majority of the Review’s recommendations and sought views on their impact and how best to implement them.
The 14-week public consultation on the white paper received more than 1,700 responses. Introducing the report on the response to the consultation, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Savid Javid MP and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland MP said: “We are pleased to see that there is a broad support for our proposed reforms. We thank all those who contributed – these are once in a generation reforms and we will continue to collaborate in developing and refining them.”
Adferiad Recovery’s involvement in supporting clients to engage in the consultation is acknowledged in the report.
Alun Thomas, Chief Executive of Adferiad Recovery, said: “Over a decade ago our members campaigned to give all patients in Wales using mental health services above GP level the legal right to a comprehensive care and treatment plan. We succeeded with the passing into law of the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010.
“It’s good to see that the proposal in the white paper to make care and treatment plans statutory in England has been largely welcomed, and that many respondents have argued that the plan should be as wide-ranging and holistic as the Welsh plan which is rightly seen as the gold standard.
“We note that there is some concern, particularly from psychiatrists, that writing these plans might be time-consuming. But patients will tell them that as a minimum they need a clear, comprehensive plan and, if it is created collaboratively, it can save everybody time by setting out exactly who is going to do what. Further, patients don’t want their psychiatrist to spend hours in their office writing plans: plans should be written during meetings with patients whether with the psychiatrist or another member of the team.
“Meanwhile we should remember that implementing this white paper could make little difference to patients in Wales. We await the Welsh Government’s own plan: we have asked them to develop their own legal proposals but they may choose to let the UK Government legislate for them – a second best approach. We also wait to see if the Welsh Government will match or improve on the wider changes in policy which are proposed for England.”
Download the UK Government response here
Mental Health Act reform campaigner Jo Roberts will be blogging on the report in the next few days on her Jo’s Blog page