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Mental health legislation needs urgent reforms, says The Law Society

On World Mental Health Day, the Law Society of England and Wales is calling for urgent reforms to the Mental Health Act.

Law Society President Lubna Shuja said:

“As we celebrate World Mental Health Day, we must recognise the urgent need to reform the Mental Health Act.

The current legislation is outdated. It does not provide mental health patients with enough agency or choice in their care and treatment, or ensure they are always given the dignity and respect they deserve.

We are pleased that the government introduced a draft Bill to reform the Act and welcome its proposals to ensure vulnerable people can access justice. The proposed changes would increase the frequency of patients’ referrals to the Mental Health Tribunal and give them more rights to challenge their detention.

The next step is for the government to respond to the recommendations put forward by a joint committee of MPs and members of the House of Lords on how to improve the Bill and then introduce new legislation. There is a need to act now.

We urge the government to include a commitment to introduce a Mental Health Bill in the King’s Speech in November and hope World Mental Health Day reminds the government of the need to ensure mental health patients can access justice.”

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