This year saw publication of the latest revision of the Mental Health Act (MHA) code of practice.
The MHA Code of Practice gives providers advice on how to make sure that the Mental Health Act 1983 is followed correctly and is used in the best interest of people who are detained under that Act. The last revision of the code was in 2008.
The revision provided us with an opportunity to review what’s been learned from our visits to check on the application of the Mental Health Act over the past five years.
Our response to the consultation on the revision was one of the most detailed submissions we’ve ever produced. It sets out where we determined that the code needed to be made much clearer and stronger, including ensuring service users are involved at all stages; an issue which has been addressed in the new code.
This opportunity has also gave us a chance to look at the ways in which we support national policy regarding MHA patients and what we can do to improve the way our findings are used in future developments.
Commenting on the publication of the Mental Health Act code of practice Prof. Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said:
‘We welcome the publication of the new code of practice. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been involved in producing the code, which reflects learning from CQC’s inspections, recommendations from our Mental Health Act Annual Reports over the past five years and the concerns raised in the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal.
‘CQC uses the code to assess how providers are meeting the requirements of the Mental Health Act and when responding to patients’ concerns about how the Act has been applied to them. We believe the revisions made to the code strengthen and support our work and we will report on how effective the code has been on the care of people subject to the Act in our Mental Health Act annual report. Our inspection team will continue to use the code to help identify good practice or improvements required by services during inspections and it will helps us to judge whether services are safe, effective, well-led and responsive to people’s needs.’