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Mental Health Act Code of Practice consultation launched


The Department of Health is seeking views on proposed changes to the Code of Practice: Mental Health Act (1983).

The consultation ‘Stronger Code: Better Care’ is asking for thoughts on a new draft Code which includes:


·      Five new guiding principles;

·      Significantly updated chapter on how to support children and young people, on the use of restraint and seclusion and the use of police powers and places of safety; and

·      New chapters on care planning, equality and human rights, links to the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, and support for victims.


The Code protects patients’ rights, informs health practitioners’ decisions and ensures that the Mental Health Act is followed. The Code guides people who are detained or treated under the Act, their families and carers about care and support available during a crisis, and what to do if it isn’t received.


The Code has sometimes been inconsistently applied, misunderstood or ignored. A revised Code will help provide better patient protection and reflects legal changes and healthcare developments since its last revision in 2008.


Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said:


"I want to build a fairer society with better mental health for everyone.


"We’re reviewing the Mental Health Act Code of Practice to make sure health professionals, patients, relatives and carers have clear, up-to-date guidance on what people can expect when they are detained under the Act. We’re asking for views on how the Code can best include recent changes in mental health such as improvements to crisis care and work to substantially reduce the use of restraint.”


This review is one of a number of government changes, to bring about better care and health outcomes for people with mental health problems and bring mental health and care services in line with services for people with physical health conditions.


The aim is to increase awareness of the Code and make it easier to understand for those who are using it, especially individuals subject to the Act, their families and carers. A new Code, reference guide and ‘easy read’ version will be published by April 2015.


The consultation is open until 12 September 2014.

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