Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act 1983 as amended 2007 comes into effect on 3 November 2008. It will be implemented in stages between November 2008 and 2010.

For example, it is expected that in April 2009 Independent Mental Health Services will come into effect, and all amendments surrounding the care and children and Children and Adolescents will be implemented in 2010.

Changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 include:

  • Definition of Mental Disorder: a single definition of mental disorder
  • Criteria for Detention: a new “appropriate medical treatment” test in place of the so-called “treatability test”
  • Professional Roles: broadening the group of practitioners who can undertake functions previously performed by the Approved Social Worker andc Responsible Medical Officer
  • Nearest Relative (NR): giving patients the right to make an application to displace their NR and enabling County Courts to displace a NR
  • Supervised Community Treatment (SCT): introducing SCT for patients following a period of detention in hospital
  • Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT): reducing the time before a case has to be referred to the MHRT and introducing a single Tribunal for England
  • Age Appropriate Services: ensuring patients aged under 18 who are admitted to hospital for a mental disorder are accommodated in an environment suitable for their age (subject to their needs)
  • Advocacy: introducing independent mental health advocacy for patients who are subject to the Mental Health Act
  • Electro-convulsive Therapy: introducing new safeguards for patients.