Queens Speech: Mental health reform

  • The Government needs to modernise the Mental Health Act to ensure people have greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve.
  • People subject to the Act will receive better care and have a much greater say in that care.
  • Patients will have greater choice and autonomy, including the ability to set out their preferences around care and treatment in advance.
  • The Government will reform the process for detention, improve care and treatment whilst someone is detained and give them better support to challenge detention .
  • The Government commissioned the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act to look at rising rates of detention under the Act; the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained under the Act; and processes that are out of step with a modern mental health care system. We will respond to the Review’s recommendations through a White Paper in the new year followed by legislation when Parliamentary time allows.
  • The Government will make it easier for people with learning disabilities and autism to be discharged from hospital and improve how they are treated in
  • law.

Key facts

  • The Mental Health Act 1983 sets out the legal framework in England and Wales for the treatment and detention of people with mental ill health, including when such action may be compulsory.
  • The Government commissioned an Independent Review of the Mental Health Act in 2017, and it reported on 6th December 2018. A White Paper will be published early next year, setting out the government’s response in full, and will pave the way for a bill to amend the Act.
  • Mental health spending is at a record high, reaching £12.5 billion in 2018-19.