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  • Kirsty Kerr

The Mental Health Act and its Implementation in the Field

The Mental Health Act, passed in 1983, is a law that gives health workers criteria as to whether or not someone with a serious mental illness needs to be kept for treatment in a hospital. From 2018 and 2019, the CQC observed how providers are using the criteria from this act to ensure that the mentally ill are being cared for correctly and are having their rights protected. After 1,190 on site visits with 4,436 detained patients and 179 carers, the CQC noticed an improvement in the way that patients who fall under the Mental Health Act are given information about their rights. But, CQC still discovered 5 main points of concern across the board.


1. The Rules about People’s Human Rights

The literal rules about how people should be treated, mentally ill or not, are not being used to guide people’s care and treatment. Certain groups appear to be getting better taken care of then others, which falls back on how these care facilities are run.

2. Getting Feedback from Patients

CQC determined that patients needed to be better involved in more than 25% of care plans observed. In 10% of all care plans, patients had no involvement at all. Even though patients can get support from an independent mental health advocate, carers aren’t emphasizing this feature enough, thus they are frequently under utilized.

3. Mental Health Patients Ostracized

There are too many autistic or special needs patients kept in hospitals solely because they don’t have adequate services in their own community. They end up in the hospital, isolated from other patients, which causes long term problems because these patients don’t get the chance to reintegrate into society. away from other patients. Those in this situation must be checked on regularly to make sure that they aren’t in isolation for longer than needed.

4. Having Enough of the Right Services for People

Those who need help aren’t getting the support they need quick enough to avoid a hospital visit preemptively. Between June 2018 and March 2019, 7 people died waiting for a bed in a mental health hospital. While police stations can be used as safe houses for those in danger to themselves or others, they are only short term solutions. More funding needs to be set aside to help those that need mental health treatment.

5. Law Confusion

Patients, families and carers alike all have difficulty understanding how exactly all the different laws and rules regarding mental health work together. Many of these laws need updating to make them easier to understand, but carers need especially need to be properly informed about what rights patients have or don’t have. More frequent training would solve this issue.

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