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Code of Practice: Mental Health Act 1983

Volume 590: debated on Thursday 15 January 2015

Following a public consultation, the Government have today laid a revised Code of Practice: Mental Health Act 1983 before Parliament. We intend that the revised code becomes effective from 1 April 2015.

The code, which applies in England, is important because it underpins the Mental Health Act 1983 which affects the lives and liberty of many people with a mental disorder, impacting upon them and their families, friends and carers. In 2013-14, there were more than 53,000 detentions in hospital in England under the Act. The revised code does not include any changes to primary legislation.

The code routinely informs the practice of health and social care professionals: it helps to safeguard patients’ rights and ensures compliance with the law. The code can help make sure that anyone experiencing mental disorder and being treated under the Act gets the right care, treatment and support, knows what their rights are, what they can expect in certain situations and what to do if things are not done correctly.

Since the code was last published in 2008, there have been substantial changes and updates in legislation, policy, case law, and professional practice. The revised code now reflects and embeds developments since 2008 in areas including the use of restrictive interventions; use of police powers to detain people in places of safety; and the use of community treatment orders.

When we published “Transforming care: A national response to Winterbourne View Hospital and Closing the Gap: Priorities for Essential Change in Mental Health”, we committed to improving mental health services. “Closing the Gap” set out 25 priority actions to improve the provision of mental health care, promote recovery and the experience of patients, their families and carers. “Transforming Care” also committed the Department to review and consult on a revised code to address the need to improve the quality of care received by patients detained under the Act.

We remain committed to ensuring that high quality care is always provided for all patients treated under the Act. Care should always be a means to promote recovery, be of the shortest duration, be as least restrictive as possible and keep the patient and other people safe.

The revised is available in the Library of the House. It can also be found on the website at: https://www.