Open consultation: Reforming the Mental Health Act

In 2017 the government asked for an independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA), to look at how its used and to suggest ways to improve it.

The reviews final report said that the MHA does not always work as well as it should for patients, their families and their carers.

Were now proposing a wide range of changes to rebalance the MHA, to put patients at the centre of decisions about their own care and ensure everyone is treated equally.

The changes are based on 4 principles that have been developed with people with lived experience of the MHA. They are:


  • choice and autonomy ensuring service users views and choices are respected
  • least restriction ensuring the MHAs powers are used in the least restrictive way
  • therapeutic benefit ensuring patients are supported to get better, so they can be discharged from the MHA
  • the person as an individual ensuring patients are viewed and treated as individuals

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