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 is accepting 2 of the review’s recommendations to modernise the Mental Health Act.
I’m grateful to Professor Sir Simon Wessely and his team for their tireless work on this vitally important review.
I am determined to do everything I can to protect people’s mental health and get them the help they need. The proposed new Mental Health Bill will give patients more control over their treatment and make sure that our mental health laws are fit for the modern age.
High-quality support in the community before a person reaches crisis point, coupled with improved crisis services when they are needed, will both help, but the review is also right to argue that anyone who needs to be in hospital should get the best care during and after their inpatient stay.
Responding to the independent review into the Mental Health Act, ordered by Government, United Response chief executive Tim Cooper said:
“Sir Simon Wessely’s review into the Mental Health Act shines welcome light onto some very disturbing assessment and treatment practices for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“The review’s findings are deeply worrying, especially those concerning people with learning disabilities or autism where compulsory treatment must be a last resort.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that more than seven years after the Winterbourne View scandal some people with a learning disability or autism are still being ‘warehoused’ in locked and unsuitable rehabilitation wards which only serve to exacerbate their problems.
“We fully endorse the review’s recommendations to restore dignity to people and to the system, and for more robust safeguards to ensure appropriate use of the Mental Health Act.
“But there is no getting away from the stark reality that these recommendations come at a time when adult social care faces a funding gap of £3.5bn by 2025 just to maintain existing levels of care. The CQC has recently confirmed that demand for care is rising and its sustainability is a huge challenge.
“Set in this context, the report’s key recommendation that social care commissioners must ensure a sufficient supply of community-based support for people with a learning disability or autism to avoid admission becomes an unachievable aspiration.
“The Government’s Transforming Care agenda referenced by Sir Wessely is widely perceived to have stalled because of the wider crisis in social care.
“Today’s recommendations are meaningless without genuinely new investment in social care infrastructure, funding for local authorities to pay care staff at National Minimum Wage rates and a drive to fix the sector’s well-documented recruitment crisis.
“Government has an opportunity to set out its plans to fix social care with its long-awaited Green Paper, the content of which will dictate whether any of this review’s recommendations for the Mental Health Act are feasible.”