Health Committee Publishes Report: Post-legislative scrutiny of the Mental Health Act 2007

On Wednesday 14 August 2013, the Health Select Committee, of which Valerie is a member, published its report into Post-legislative scrutiny of the Mental Health Act 2007.

Valerie said:

“Our report found that more needed to be done to protect the interests of patients who rely on mental health services. The intention of the Mental Health Act 2007 was designed to protect extremely vulnerable patients, but our review found that many of the vital safeguards are not working effectively.”

“The new Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) were introduced to protect patients who lack mental capacity. In practice DOLS are often ignored leaving many at a heightened risk of abuse. The Government must immediately instigate a review which details an action plan for improvement.”

“The introduction of Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) allowed for patients to be treated in the community while still being subject to recall to hospital if their conditions deteriorates. While the principle of supervised community treatment is welcome, they have not been effective at preventing readmission to hospitals. Ministers need to carry out a proper review into CTOs effectiveness, whether they are clinically appropriate and how they can be improved.

“Independent Mental Health Advocates help patients take advantage of their rights while in hospital. However the Committee was told that the presence of independent advocates has resulted in some clinical staff retreating from their obligations to help patients understand their rights. Independent advocates should provide a supplementary service and a patient’s primary advocate should be their clinician.”

The Committee’s report can be downloaded here.