NHS Providers response to Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill
- We welcome the publication of the draft Mental Health Bill and look forward to the government prioritising the introduction of this legislation and taking the necessary steps to progress the broader changes to policy and practice required.
- We support proposals to simplify the Act and make changes that maintain appropriate safeguards, while enabling greater individual rights and liberties, as well as enabling service users to have a more active role in their care planning with a focus on recovery. Putting patients at the heart of how they access care and treatment is vital to high quality care. Good practice needs to be shared, and its implementation supported, in a systematic and coordinated way.
- However, reform of the Act alone will not be enough to improve how and where good quality mental health services are accessed. We welcome the acknowledgement of this in the 2021 white paper and the paper’s further proposals, as well as planned and ongoing work, to reform policy and practice more broadly.
- The proposed reforms will require additional funding and expansion of the workforce, over and above current commitments. Sufficient funding and investment are crucial to addressing the underlying issues driving the pressures on services and compounding the rising severity and complexity of people’s needs. Longstanding system and financial pressures on providers, combined with inconsistent investment in mental health services at local levels, continue to exacerbate bed capacity pressures and increase the likelihood that a person may reach a crisis point necessitating use of the Act to admit.