New Mental Health Bill is published

Health minister Rosie Winterton published the Mental Health Bill today, promising more protection for patients and the public.

The Bill will introduce supervised treatment in the community to ensure that patients comply with treatment when they are discharged from hospital and enable action to be taken to prevent relapse.

New rights and extra protection will also be given to people who are unable to decide about their care and who may be unfairly deprived of their liberty.

These safeguards will affect about 5,000 people who have a serious mental disorder but up until now have not been covered by existing mental health laws. Known as the 'Bournewood provisions', they include independent checks of whether they should be detained, rights to appeal and a representative appointed to look after their rights.

It will also introduce a new simplified definition of mental disorder and remove the ‘treatability’ test. The ‘treatability’ test has meant that in the past, some people who needed treatment to prevent them harming themselves or others did not receive it.

Publishing the Bill, Ms Winterton said: ‘This Bill will help ensure that people with serious mental health problems receive the treatment they need to protect them and others from harm. It will also strengthen patient safeguards and ensure human rights are protected.’

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