Reforming the Mental Health Act is more important than ever

13 January 2021

Responding to the reform of the Mental Health Act, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"We welcome the publication of this white paper. Reforming the Mental Health Act is more important than ever as COVID-19 has accelerated mental health trends and intensified the challenges facing services. We look forward to exploring the implications of the proposals and responding to the consultation on behalf of trusts in the coming months to support the white paper's successful implementation.

Putting patients at the heart of how they access treatment is vital to high quality care.

Saffron Cordery    Deputy Chief Executive

"Putting patients at the heart of how they access treatment is vital to high quality care. Care Quality Commission's latest assessment of the care provided to people detained under the Mental Health Act highlighted how a wide range of services have empowered their patients and service users by applying the principles of least restriction and focusing on care planning and co-production.

"We previously recommended the simplification of the legislation, and changes that maintain appropriate safeguards but enable greater individual rights and liberties, with service users having more of an active role in care planning with a recovery focus. We also stressed the need for the provision of appropriate post-discharge care and support.

We need to address the underlying issues driving the pressures on services and the rising severity and complexity of people’s needs.

Saffron Cordery    Deputy Chief Executive

"But reform of the Mental Health Act alone will not be enough. We need to address the underlying issues driving the pressures on services and the rising severity and complexity of people's needs. We must fully and promptly fund, on a sustainable basis, the rapid expansion of services required to meet extra demand, and adequately invest in the mental health workforce. Alongside this, there must be increased support for public health and social care given the crucial role these services play in providing people with the care they need at an early stage, before they reach a crisis. Community-based specialist mental health care capacity must increase if the need to detain under the Act is to decrease."

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