Andrew Percy – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Percy on 2016-02-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he plans to take to ensure that all patients who are subject to the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983 have all their rights discussed or explained to them before any treatment is carried out, as recommended by the Care Quality Commission’s sixth annual report, HC483, published on 14 October 2015.

Alistair Burt

The Mental Health Act 1983: Code of Practice, which came into force in April 2015, provides statutory guidance on how functions under the Mental Health Act 1983 (the Act) should be carried out. All providers of mental health services under the Act have a duty to abide by both the provisions of the Act and the detailed guidance on how implement those provisions contained in the Code of Practice. That includes the duty of all such mental health providers to ensure their staff know and understand their responsibilities under the Act.

Empowerment and the involvement of patients are key principles underpinning the Act, and the Code of Practice is clear that detained patients must be informed of their rights; that it is the responsibility of those treating them to ensure that patients understand their rights; and that patients are aware that they are entitled to ask for the assistance of an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) to help them understand this information.

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) annual report Monitoring the Mental Health Act 2014/15 indicates that CQC have already taken action where providers are failing to effectively monitor the Act, train staff and support patients and recommends that services use the findings of that report to make sure staff have the right skills and knowledge and decide what action needs to be taken to improve the care and support available for patients.