RCPsych responds to the Mental Health Act Review

Statement / comment
06 December 2018

Professor Wendy Burn, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: "Sometimes using the Mental Health Act is necessary for a person’s safety, or to stop a patient’s condition from deteriorating any further. That doesn’t mean it isn’t stressful for patients.

"The proposals to help people feel as safe and supported as possible are certainly welcome, and the rebalance of choice towards the patient is a way of creating a more modern Mental Health Act.

"When launched, this Review was set the task of reducing the rate of detention, which has been rising steadily in recent years. As the Review itself acknowledges, changing legislation alone is not the answer.

"Mental health services get just over one in every nine pounds spent of the NHS England budget. This is despite mental health making up nearly a quarter of the NHS disease burden.

"If the government is serious about significantly reducing the use of the Mental Health Act, hard-pushed mental health services urgently need further investment and a larger workforce to help people stay well before they reach a crisis point.

“In a survey, 80% of psychiatrists named stigma and a lack of services, especially in the community, as the most common reason for why more people from some BME groups were being detained. The RCPsych position statement on racism urges the delivery of culturally appropriate care tailored to individuals.”

Read the full report

See the College's page on the Mental Health Act

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