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Government commits to reform the Mental Health Act 1983

Final report of Independent Review of the MHA published

The government will introduce a new Mental Health Bill to transform mental health care, following publication of the final report from the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983. The government accepts two of the review's recommendations to modernise the Mental Health Act.

Those detained under the Act will be allowed 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. This can lead to distant or unknown relatives being called upon to make important decisions about their care when they are at their most vulnerable.

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

In October 2017, the Prime Minister announced an independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983 to make improvements following rising detention rates, racial disparities in detention and concerns that the Act is out of step with a modern mental health system. The review team was also asked to consider how to improve practice within the existing legislation.

The government will issue a formal response to the review's recommendations in the New Year before preparing the new legislation.

The report has been welcomed by the British Association of Social Workers. For its initial response, click here.

For the final report from the Independent Review, click here. For the Government's announcement in response, click here. For the Mental Health Act 1983, click here.