Help improve the Draft Mental Health Bill

We’re asking members to get involved in the call for evidence on the Draft Mental Health Bill, which will be the most significant piece of legislative change in the field of mental health for 40 years.

Call for evidence

In June, the Draft Mental Health Bill was published in full. The Bill will make some key changes to the Mental Health Act, including how it applies to people with an intellectual disability. The Bill will also address disparities in the use of the Act towards people from ethnic minority backgrounds and aims to improve care for prisoners with acute mental health needs.

Following the public­­ation of the Bill the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill has been set up to provide Pre-Legislative scrutiny of the Bill. The College has been working to engage with the Committee and already has longstanding relationships with many of the members.

As part of the Committee’s scrutiny of the Bill, they have launched a call for evidence. The call for evidence asks a number of questions on the proposed reforms, including:

  • To what extent is the approach of amending the existing Mental Health Act the right one?
  • To what extent will the draft Bill reduce inequalities in people’s experiences of the Mental Health Act, especially those experienced by ethnic minority communities and in particular of black African and Caribbean heritage?
  • What are your views on the changes to how the Act applies to autistic people and those with learning disabilities?
  • What do you think the impact of the proposals will be on the workforce within community mental health services and multidisciplinary working practices both in inpatient and community services?

The deadline for submissions is 16 September and the College is working on our response, with consultations across faculties and committees.

Following the call for evidence, there will be oral evidence sessions that the College will engage in.

How to get involved

There is also the opportunity for you to respond individually to the call for evidence.

The committee is keen to hear your views on any aspect of the Bill. They particularly want to hear about potential recommendations you have to address any issues identified.

You can submit your response to the investigation on the committee’s website, where you can find full details on the call for evidence. Your response should be as concise as possible and submitted using a single document in either Word, ODT or RTF format.

If you would like to keep up to date with the committee’s work, they have established a Twitter account which will provide regular updates on their inquiry.

Mental Health Act in Wales

Welsh Ministers have taken the decision that the reforms should extend to Wales, and this has been announced in the Senedd and communicated to UK Government.

We would encourage anyone in Wales to respond to the call for evidence, whilst there will be consultation across faculties and committees in Wales. The College is working to ensure Welsh perspectives are included in response to the Committee.

RCPsych Wales is also a member of the Welsh Government Ministerial Delivery Oversight Board, scrutinising the application of Mental Health Act reform with the Welsh Government.

Looking ahead

We will keep you informed on our response to the Committee and updated on the progress of the Draft Bill.
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