The current Act is from 2003 and while it was thought of as a leading piece of legislation at the time, the changes in the care and treatment of people with mental illness and an increased focus on human rights has caused the Commission to ask for a review for some years. It is thought that support for people with mental health conditions will be strengthened through an independent review of the Mental Health Act. A review group will also make recommendations that reflect people’s social, economic and cultural rights and will consider the future shape of incapacity, mental health and adult support and protection legislation. Two years ago, the Commission published a document with Edinburgh Napier University calling for reform of Scotland’s mental health and incapacity laws explaining why this change was needed. This document has helped drive this process of changing the current Scottish Mental Health Act.

The three areas for change mentioned were:
– New form of guardianship to provide more flexibility and rights respecting way to make decisions about money, care and welfare for people who cannot take those decisions themselves.

– The possibility of unified legislation, replacing Scotland’s two separate mental health and incapacity laws with new, non-discrimatory legislation for making decisions about welfare and treatment where an adult is unable to do to unaided.

– The issue of compulsion in care and treatment. Particularly how far decision-making capacity should be central to decisions on compulsory treatment, whether or not the person has mental illness.

Colin McKay, chief executive of the Mental Welfare Commission said: “This will be an ambitious project, which we will support in every way we can. We await the details of how the review will be undertaken but working together,
with professionals and with people with lived experience, Scotland has the opportunity to create new legislation that can bring real improvement to the care and treatment of some of the most vulnerable members of our
community.“

Please contact independent psychiatry for more questions. We have experts who provide psychiatric opinions for Courts and Tribunals. We can usually assess clients where they are based including care homes, hospitals and home visits.