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Mental Health Act reform: VoiceAbility submits evidence

30 September 2022

VoiceAbility’s evidence to the parliamentary committee scrutinising the government’s draft Mental Health Bill has now been published, alongside submissions from 82 other organisations and individuals.

In our written evidence, VoiceAbility called for:

  • a new chapter in the Mental Health Act (MHA) focused on Protection of Rights, similar to the new Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 in Victoria, Australia, so that a person’s voice is placed at the centre of a reformed MHA
  • extension of opt-out advocacy to voluntary/​informal patients
  • expansion of the role and powers of the Mental Health Tribunal (the independent judicial body that hears appeals against detention)
  • strengthening the duties on public bodies to require (at least) an adequate supply’ of community services for people with a learning disability and autistic people, as originally proposed by the government’s white paper, and to legislate for a nationally commissioned advocacy service for people with a learning disability and autistic people in mental health inpatient services
  • direct incorporation into the MHA the four principles recommended by the Independent Review (which includes choice and autonomy)
  • government to publish a regularly updated implementation plan to ensure progress in practical delivery of the MHA reforms

The parliamentary committee will now hold oral evidence hearings. Once these have concluded, it will publish a report by the end of the year with recommendations for government on how the draft Mental Health Bill can be improved. 

We will be encouraging government to legislate quickly after that so that people’s new legal rights are available as soon as possible.