Mind responds to Mental Health Act powers being dropped from emergency Covid-19 legislation
Responding to the UK Government's announcement that emergency changes to the Mental Health Act, as part of the Coronavirus Act, will be removed, Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said:
"It will be a huge relief to many people living with mental health problems to know that if they are detained for treatment, emergency measures that would have severely impacted their rights will not take effect. These emergency powers would have been hugely detrimental for people in mental health crisis - with a reduction in the number of doctors needed to make decisions about someone's care and increases to the timeframes people could be detained against their will.
"We are glad these emergency changes were never used and now the threat of them being used is no longer there. We understand there will still be a need for flexibility within the healthcare system as we enter a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, however this cannot be at the expense of safeguarding some of the most vulnerable people in our society. This is why we would also urge the UK Government to review the Coronavirus Act’s social care easements that have been previously used and we know impacted people with mental health problems.
"And while we welcome the UK Government removing emergency changes to the Mental Health Act, it must now get on with reforming this deeply outdated legislation. We are still waiting on a long-overdue White Paper addressing the pre-existing injustices in the way people are sectioned and treated in hospital. At the earliest possible opportunity the Government must act to change mental health laws to strengthen people’s rights in the long-term."