See Me Call for Scrutiny of how the Mental Health Act is Implemented

Posted by See Me, 9 August 2017

We have written to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee, asking for them to review how the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 is implemented, following a consultation we held with people on their experiences of the act.

The Mental Health Act is underpinned by a set of 10 principles and has human rights at its core. Whilst allowing for people to be detained, it also sets out certain safeguards such as Advance Statements, the right to independent advocacy, the Mental Health Tribunal, and the role of Mental Health Officers.

Our response to the committee highlights a general concern about how the Act has been and continues to be implemented, particularly since 2010 in the context of austerity and more recently as service providers have needed to make savings as health and social care becomes more integrated.

We also highlight specific concerns about safeguarding rights, Compulsory Treatment Orders, limited provision of Mental Health Officers, decreasing access to advocacy, the involvement of people in decisions that affect them, and how the Act no longer fits comfortably with the national and international context it sits within (e.g. European Convention on Human Rights and the United Nations Conventions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

We wrote this response after the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee put out a call-out for views on Acts for them to look at.

The Mental Welfare Commission and the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance have also written to the Committee asking for the Act, in full or in part, to be scrutinised.