Law on mental health changes

editorial image

People throughout Ayrshire are being urged to take part in a Scotland-wide consultation on how new mental health legislation is implemented.

The on-line consultation has been launched by the Scottish Government.

Holyrood passed the Mental Health Act (Scotland) 2015 last year and it amends some of the provisions in the 2003 Act which the government says will improve the rights of patients.

Service users, mental health professionals, organisations and anyone interested in mental health services in Scotland are invited to make their views known on how sections of the new Act are brought into use.

One part of the Act creates a new central register of Advance Statements – documents where patients record how they want to be treated if they lose the capacity to make their own decisions. The consultation asks how more people can be encouraged to make use of this process.

Advance Statements were included in the 2003 Act but the new Act makes two important changes. It introduces a requirement for health boards to keep a copy of the Advance Statement with a patient’s records and to inform the Mental Welfare Commission of its existence and location.

The Act also requires health boards to publicise the support they provide to make and withdraw an Advance Statement.

Other consultation questions ask for views on changes to regulations that safeguard the rights of patients using mental health services.

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health is encouraging people to use the consultation process.

“Mr Hepburn commented: “The 2015 Mental Health Act contains some important changes to the way that mental health services are run in Scotland, to further strengthen patients’ rights. Having been passed by parliament last year, we are now moving towards implementing the measures contained in the Act.”

The minister added: “I hope we can get a good range of responses from people right across Ayrshire and beyond.

“The feedback of people who have experience of mental health services, either as users, professionals, or other interested parties, will help us to plan implementation in the best possible way.

“ It will mean that we can ensure that the Act achieves the changes we want to see – stronger rights, and better patient involvement in decisions about their care.”

The consultation is online until May 30 and can be accessed at: https//consult.scotland.gov.uk/mental-health-law/mental-health-act