Consultation on revised Mental Health Act code of practice launched

Department of Health invites social worker feedback on first revisions to code since 2008

Picture credit: Charlie Milligan

The Department of Health is seeking views from social workers on proposed revisions of the Mental Health Act code of practice.

A draft code of practice put out to consultation this week marks the first revision of the code since 2008. Significant amendments to the code include: a new chapter on the interface between the Mental Capacity Act and Mental Health Act; a revised chapter on how to support children and young people and five new guiding principles for professionals implementing the code.

The consultation on the draft code runs until 12 September. The final revised code of practice will be published by April 2015.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said: “We’re reviewing the Mental Health Act Code of Practice to make sure health professionals, patients, relatives and carers have clear, up-to-date guidance on what people can expect when they are detained under the Act.

“We’re asking for views on how the Code can best include recent changes in mental health such as improvements to crisis care and work to substantially reduce the use of restraint.”

A consultation document accompanying the draft code also invites feedback on how the DH can provide further guidance to support Approved Mental Health Professionals in cases where they struggle to secure beds for patients in need of admission.

A series of investigations by Community Care and BBC News have revealed how bed shortages have led to patients being admitted to hospitals hundreds of miles from home. Research by The College of Social Work found that problems accessing beds had seen emergency admissions delayed by up to three weeks.

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