Your guide to the Mental Health Act White Paper

Following the publication of the Department of Health and Social Care’s White Paper on Reforming the Mental Health Act on 13 January 2021, the mental health team at Mills & Reeve have produced commentary on a number of the changes proposed to rebalance the MHA, to put patients at the centre of decisions about their own care and ensure everyone is treated equally.

The changes are based on four principles that have been developed with people with lived experience of the MHA.

They are:

  • choice and autonomy – ensuring service users’ views and choices are respected
  • least restriction – ensuring the MHA’s powers are used in the least restrictive way
  • therapeutic benefit – ensuring patients are supported to get better, so they can be discharged from the MHA
  • the person as an individual – ensuring patients are viewed and treated as individuals

Have your say on the proposals

The Government would like to hear your views on the proposals, so that they can take these into consideration before any changes are made. The consultation is open until 21 April 2021 and you can respond here.

The new legislation will have significant implications for mental health providers, commissioners and patients.

You can read our collection of commentary on the package of reform proposals and what they mean for the sector below:

Mills & Reeve and NHS Confederation's Mental Health Network

The team has produced a briefing in partnership with the Mental Health Network which summarises the Government’s legislative and policy proposals. You can read the briefing here.

As part of the Mental Health Network's virtual learning season 2021, Jill Mason, Head of Health and Care chaired a webinar event on 4 March which explored key areas of the Government's proposals with Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Chair of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act and Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. You can watch on demand Session 3: Reforming the Mental Health Act – what does it mean for mental health providers, commissioners, and patients? here.

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

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