A MAJOR SHAKE-UP of the country’s approach to mental health has been welcomed by Evesham’s MP Nigel Huddleston.
Speaking in the week the Government introduced a white paper to recommend changes to the outdated Mental Health Act of 1983, Nigel Huddleston said the changes were needed to reflect an increased understanding of mental health issues in recent years.
The changes to the legislative framework involves rethinking how people with severe mental illnesses who present a risk to themselves, or others are treated. The government will now act to make sure patients are put at the centre of decisions about their own care, to ensure everyone is treated with respect and the law is only used to compel treatment where absolutely necessary.
The Health Secretary set out in his statement to the House of Commons that the new act will make treatment plans more transparent to patients and make it easier for patients to challenge decisions.
The Government also sets out to tackle disparities, introducing the new Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework and increasing the scrutiny of decisions. The Government has also committed to changing the way people with a learning disability or autism are treated under the law and to improve the system for those within the criminal justice system – proposing a 28-day time limit to speed up the transfer of prisoners to hospital.
“Our knowledge of mental health and our attitude towards it has changed a lot in the past few years. I’m glad we’re using this opportunity to take action to reflect that in legislation,” Mr Huddleston said.
“I know after this challenging year it’s certainly welcome we’re investing more into our mental health. I’m pleased this is also reflected on a local level with recent news that dormitories will now be eliminated on mental health wards and the Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust will replace them with modern, individual rooms over the next few years,” he added.
Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness described the proposals as ‘a hugely significant milestone in a long struggle for change’.
“Many people will take for granted their right to have choice and control over the medical treatment they receive. But thousands of people every year who are severely affected by mental illness and who are detained under the Act lose those rights and temporarily their liberty,” he said.
“The proposals set out in the White Paper, all informed by the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, give real hope for a more person-centred and principled Mental Health Act which better reflects how a modern society thinks about mental illness.”