Briefing: Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill 2017-19
As the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill 2017-19 starts its passage through the House of Lords, NHS Providers has updated a briefing on the Bill, which is available at the link below. Also available to download is the briefing for the Commons stages.
- Alongside the review of the Mental Health Act, we welcome the attention the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill draws to ensuring high quality care for those with mental health conditions.
- In particular, we fully agree that restraint should only be used as a last resort and welcome support in reducing the use of inappropriate force in mental health care. In pursuing reductions in restraint and force, it is important to note the context in which mental health services are operating. As in other parts of the NHS, mental health trusts are facing rapidly rising demand at the same time as substantial financial pressures and staffing shortages.
- Any implementation of new legislation needs to be done alongside improved resourcing to ensure adequate training and sufficient staffing to enable alternative approaches to be pursued and embedded. As the Care Quality Commission found in its report, Monitoring the Mental Health Act in 2016/17, “changes to legislation alone may not have a major or immediate effect”.1 It is therefore important that any legislation changes are introduced alongside support and guidance in adhering to legislation and bringing about cultural change.
- It is also important that the appropriate resources are commissioned, including a consideration about the required level of staffing and training, to support the delivery of a safe service.