Mental health, mental capacity and the King’s Speech: rights protection absent legislative change

The background briefing notes to the King’s Speech on 7 November 2023 confirmed by their silence that which was increasingly feared, namely that the Government has no present intention of taking forward legislation to respond to the independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983.  Combined with the Government’s decision to postpone indefinitely the implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards, it is somewhat difficult to escape the impression that the interests of those with cognitive impairments of different kinds are not high on the political agenda.

I am not going to get political, but to make the plea that the absence of any apparent interest from the grown-ups is not to be taken as meaning that these issues are not hugely important – and a plea for creativity in terms of thinking about how to navigate systems as they stand.  I have given some thoughts in relation to the post-LPS world as they stand here; in relation to matters MHA related, I would point to the PCREF work recently launched, and also to the fact that it is perfectly possible already to implement a version of the Advance Choice Documents approach proposed by the Review and strongly endorsed by the Joint Committee on the draft Bill even absent legislative change – they are made more complicated by the need to navigate the current legislative landscape, but creative tools can be found in a number of places, including here.

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