Government pledges new Mental Health Act after review urges shift in power from professionals to patients

Mental Health - Sectionedsource:: Community Care
published: 6 December 2018

The government has committed to introduce a Mental Health Bill to transform care for detained patients after an independent review recommended new legislation that placed people’s rights, choices and dignity at its heart.

Following today’s publication of the final report of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983, the government has, so far, accepted two of its recommendations: (see the full report here)

  • To replace the nearest relative role, in which a patient is allocated a relative to be involved in decisions about their care, with that of a nominated person that they would choose
  • To allow people to make statutory advance choice documents setting out their preferences for inpatient treatment, which clinicians must honour unless there are compelling reasons not to

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INQUEST responds to the latest MOJ Safety in Custody Statistics

Statisticssource: INQUEST
originally published: 26 July 2018

The Ministry of Justice has today (26 July 2018) released the latest statistics on safety, deaths and self-harm in custody. The data shows that levels of self-harm and violence in prison continues to escalate. While the number of overall deaths have reduced since 2016, they are still at historically high levels.

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said: 

“These statistics point to the disturbing reality of prison life with escalating levels of distress, self-harm, homicide and violence. The only way to improve safety and reduce prison deaths is to dramatically cut the prison population and invest in community alternatives.

The number of deaths awaiting classification in this period has more than doubled with the majority of people found unresponsive in their cells. The undetermined nature of these deaths raises questions as to whether they are drug related or due to undiagnosed or untreated health conditions.

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Mental health triage scheme recognised internationally

Benjamin Zephaniah for 4WardEverUK & CI Sean Russell – The One Show 2014

source: West Midlands Police
published: 14 April 2018

A specialist emergency response unit which offers immediate assessments to suspected mental health sufferers in the West Midlands has been recognised internationally – after counterparts from Australia visited the region to learn about best practice.

The Mental Health Triage scheme sees West Midlands Police officers joined by psychiatric nurses and paramedics to attend calls from people who are believed to be suffering from mental ill health.

The successful police and NHS partnership means patients get on-the-spot assessments at their home or on the street and can be taken to safe health facilities for the support they need rather than held in police custody.

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