Tom Lumsden, a partner at solicitors CooperBurnett LLP in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, looks at the likely plans for a new draft Mental Health Bill and what this would mean for care providers
On 13 January, the government published its response via a White Paper to the 2018 review by Sir Simon Wessely of the 1983 Mental Health Act. The White Paper is followed by a 12-week consultation period, following which it is proposed that a new draft Mental Health Bill will be shared, most likely in 2022. The new proposals will overhaul many aspects of mental health law.
There are several aspects of the Bill that will be of importance to care providers. In particular, changes are proposed in relation to service users who suffer from learning difficulties or autism and there is, of course, a large number of care residents who suffer from mental health issues, or issues of capacity arising from dementia.
The official press release stated that Health Secretary Matt Hancock feels the need to bring mental health laws into the 21st century, as the existing Mental Health Act is now 40 years old. In addition, the government has a manifesto commitment to reform the law in this area.
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