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Scotland’s Mental Health Law Review – the Mental Welfare Commission response

Publication date: 7 Jun, 2022

The Mental Welfare Commission has today published its response to the Scottish Mental Health Law Review’s consultation on changes to Scotland’s mental health laws.

The consultation is now closed, and the final report from the review team is due to be delivered to Scottish Ministers by the end of September 2022.

Julie Paterson, chief executive, Mental Welfare Commission, said:

“Our current mental health and incapacity legislation is 20 years old. Over those two decades we have seen huge changes in attitudes towards, and awareness of, mental ill health. Care and treatment have changed too, with more people being treated at home in the community, rather than in hospital. Pressures on services are growing, and people are experiencing difficulties in getting access to treatment.

“We support the aim of the Scottish Mental Health Law Review team to improve people’s rights and protections, and to remove barriers to those caring for their health and welfare.

“We see this review as an opportunity for the law to ensure greater visibility and support for people with a mental health condition to be involved in directing how services are governed, developed, and scrutinised. 

“We also believe there is also an opportunity to reduce stigma by requiring those public bodies that are set up through mental health legislation, including the Mental Welfare Commission, to require inclusion of the voices of people with experience of using services, and carer voices, at all levels of their working. This may lead to a wider effect across society. The benefits of diversity and inclusion have not yet been realised. The review provides an opportunity to do so.

“The key issue for us is that the review is practical and makes clear improvements for people in Scotland.

“We look forward to seeing the final recommendations, and thereafter to hearing the views of Scottish Ministers.”