Thank you for your email regarding the Government's plans to reform the Mental Health Act and EDM 1242.
I’m afraid that, as a matter of principle and like any other MPs, I don’t sign EDMs which have no real parliamentary function and yet are very expensive to administer. However, I have read the interim report of the independent review of the Mental Health Act. Like you, I’m very concerned about the way in which many people with mental health conditions have suffered and I believe that the Mental Health Act should be reformed. I can assure you that the Government will follow the recommendations of this review and make sure the Mental Health Act is appropriate for the modern day.
In October, the Prime Minister announced her intention to reform the Act which had gone broadly unchanged since 1983. She was particularly concerned about the rise in detention rates and the racial disparity in detention, and she feared that the Act was out of step with our modern mental health system. This process will certainly reveal some uncomfortable and difficult facts and I commend the Government for its willingness to face up to this and commit to substantive reforms.
The review, led by Sir Simon Wessely, wishes to make the Mental Health Act work better for everyone and ensure that everybody detained under the Act is treated with dignity and respect and empowered to take decisions about their care as far as possible. This review is just the first step in the lengthy process of reforming the Mental Health Act and I’ve been assured that the Government will pay close attention to its recommendations, not shying away from the challenges it poses.
I welcome this interim report and I will follow closely the next steps being taken to modernise the Act.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.