Government response to the Joint Committee on the draft Mental Health Bill published

The Government has today (21 March 2024) published its response to the report of the Joint Committee on the draft Mental Health Bill, published in January 2023.  Whilst no Bill appeared in the most recent King’s Speech, so no legislation will be forthcoming this Parliament, the Government does say in its response that “[w]e will seek to introduce a revised bill when Parliamentary time allows.”  With thanks to Tim Spencer-Lane, from whose post I have shamelessly lifted this, the headline points in are that:

The following recommendations were rejected by government:

  • The creation of a statutory mental health commissioner
  • A new ‘responsible person’ for each health body to address bias and discrimination
  • The abolition of CTOs
  • Extending the tightened detention criteria to Part 3 patients
  • A new mechanism to extend section 2 detention for some people with learning disability and autism
  • Amending DoLS so that it cannot be used as an alternative route to the MHA
  • Amending the duty to implement CETR recommendations
  • A statutory test for “competency, or ‘child capacity’” for children
  • A pilot scheme for patients to appeal treatment decisions at the mental health tribunal
  • A Central Advocacy Service
  • A statutory right to request “culturally appropriate advocacy”
  • Replacing section 118 (on statutory principles)

The Government, however, agreed the following:

  • To review the wording of the new detention criteria on “how soon” detention may occur
  • To consider if a 12-month review of CETRs was too long
  • To consider if the new “risk register” should be renamed “Dynamic Support Register”
  • To place a duty on on services to carry out activity in relation to Advance Care Documents
  • The need for greater clarity about holding powers in A&E departments
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