Independent review into mental health legislation announced

Independent review into mental health legislation announced

Clare Haughey

An independent review of Scotland’s mental health legislation is to be conducted.

The review of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 aims to improve the rights and protections of those living with mental illness and remove barriers to those caring for their health and welfare.

It will examine developments in mental health law and practice on compulsory detention and on care and treatment since the current legislation came into force in 2005.

A review group will also make recommendations that reflect people’s social, economic and cultural rights and will consider the future shape of incapacity, mental health and adult support and protection legislation.

This follows on from work already underway to review incapacity law and practice, and a review of learning disability and autism.

Announcing the review during a parliamentary statement, mental health minister Clare Haughey said: “The Scottish government is absolutely committed to bringing change to people’s lives and ensuring that mental health is given parity with physical health.

“This review of the Mental Health Act will take this a step further, reaffirming our commitment to creating a modern, inclusive Scotland which protects and respects human rights.

“The time is right to examine these issues so that our laws fully reflect our ambitions and the needs of those our laws are intended to support.

“As part of the review we want to gather views from as wide a range of people as possible and I am determined to ensure that the views of service users, those with lived experience and those that care for them are front and centre so they can help shape the future direction of our legislation.”

Judith Robertson, chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said: “The commission has called for a comprehensive review of mental health legislation for some time. We have expressed concerns about whether current legislation is effective at protecting and promoting the rights of those who need support with their mental health.

“We therefore welcome this review as an important opportunity to ensure that any new mental health legislation contains the right safeguards and provisions to protect people’s rights as fully as possible.

“We particularly welcome that the review will focus on improving compliance with the full range of people’s rights, including the UN Disability Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. Importantly, it will also consider the role of incapacity legislation which presents similar challenges in realising people’s human rights.”

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