Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 publishes recommendations – Alzheimer’s Society comments

Posted On: 
6th December 2018

Today, the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act publishes its recommendations. 

The report suggests the below changes to the existing legislation:

  • People’s wishes and preferences should carry far more legal weight
  • Action is needed for people from ethnic minority communities, children and young people, people in the criminal justice system, and those with a learning disability, autism, or both
  • The use of compulsion should be targeted and justifications should be transparent
  • We should modernise our services as we modernise our laws​

Sally Copley, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Partnerships at Alzheimer's Society, says: "It's high time that the Mental Health Act is reviewed. The current legislation is outdated and not fit to meet the needs of the 850,000 people with dementia in the UK.

"As it stands, there is no requirement to involve a person with dementia in decisions that affect their care. Listening to a person in care should never be optional  and it is incredibly alarming to hear of instances when decisions - including being sectioned - have been made without the person and their family knowing.

"Such actions dangerously enter into rights abuse, and we urgently need to provide clarity for people with dementia and their families, who are facing the added difficulty of an impenetrably complex system at a distressing time.  As we have long said, everyone living with dementia has the right to be partners in their care*, and we look to this review to uphold this principle and the legal protection they are entitled to."