Mental health legislation

There are two specific pieces of legislation that govern how people with mental health conditions receive care and treatment. They are the Mental Health Act 1983 (updated by the 2007 Act) and the Mental Capacity Act 2005, including the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

The Mental Health Act (MHA) sets out how a person can be admitted, detained and treated in hospital against their wishes and details safeguards which ensure patients' rights are upheld. The Trust ensures that any detention and/or treatment under the Mental Health Act is fully compliant with both 'the Act', and the standards and safeguards as set out in the Code of Practice. Compliance with all the requirements of the Act and relevant safeguards, including access to formal appeal processes, is carefully monitored by the Care Quality Commission.

The Mental Capacity Act allows somebody to make a decision on behalf of a person aged 16 and over in their best interests, if the person lacks the capacity to make the decision for themselves. These decisions can relate to life-changing events, the restriction or deprivation of a person's liberty, or everyday matters. AWP ensures that any best interests decision or action is fully compliant with both 'the Act' and the standards and safeguards as set out in the Code of Practice. Our compliance with the safeguards on the deprivation of liberty set out in the Act is carefully monitored by the Care Quality Commission.

The key responsibility for ensuring that practice is fully compliant with the relevant legislation and Codes of Practice, and that the rights and safeguards for service users are fully respected rests with the hospital managers and the professionals working with each service user and family.

Service users and families can be supported through access to independent advocacy, including (where relevant) Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Advocates.

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