New Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

A revised Code of Practice for the Mental Health Act 1983 was published last week. The new Code provides guidance for professionals and explains how they should carry out their roles and responsibilities under the Mental Health Act 1983, to ensure that all patients receive high quality and safe care.

There have been significant changes in legislation, case law, policy and professional practice since the last Code was published in 2008.

The revised Code of Practice will come into force on 1 April 2015, subject to parliamentary approval. It aims to provide stronger protection for patients and clarify roles, rights and responsibilities. This includes:

Involving the patient and, where appropriate, their families and carers in discussions about the patient’s care at every stage.
Providing personalised care.
Minimising the use of inappropriate blanket restrictions, restrictive interventions and the use of police cells as places of safety.
The main changes to the Code include:

5 new guiding principles.
New chapters on care planning, human rights, equality and health inequalities.
Consideration of when to use the Mental Health Act and when to use the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and information to support victims.
New sections on physical health care, blanket restrictions, duties to support patients with dementia and immigration detainees.
Significantly updated chapters on the appropriate use of restrictive interventions, particularly seclusion and long-term segregation, police powers and places of safety.
Further guidance on how to support children and young people, those with a learning disability or autism.
The new Code can be found at the following link:

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