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Mental Health Act Reform

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2021

We are determined to work across Government to modernise the Mental Health Act 2007 so that it ensures that patients receive the right care in the right setting at the right time. Prison should be a place for rehabilitation, not a convenient holding pen for those people for whom mental health is the primary driver of their offending.

What is the timetable for the Mental Health Act consultation and how can interested parties participate?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for her continuing interest in this important process. We are consulting widely on these proposed reforms, including service users, carers and professionals, to ensure that we get this once-in-a-generation opportunity right. The consultation is now available on the gov.UK website, and will close on 21 April.

Will the Secretary of State explain how reforms of the Mental Health Act will strengthen the role that the justice system plays in protecting society’s most vulnerable, both in north Wales and across the country?

I am very grateful to my hon. Friend who, from his professional experience, has a great deal of expertise and knowledge in this area. Among other reforms, we want, in particular, to increase patient access to the Mental Health Tribunal, which provides vital independent scrutiny of detention orders. We wish to expand its powers so that it plays a greater safeguarding role. Health policy is devolved to Wales, so it will be for the Welsh Government to decide whether they wish to join the UK Government on many of our reforms in the White Paper, and we will continue to work closely with them in order to secure that partnership.