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Mental Health Officers

On 1 July, five MHO SASW members and SASW Manager Trisha Hall met with Innes Fyfe, the 2015 Mental Health Bill Team Leader and Eleanor Stanley, from the Mental Health Law team, (both from the Scottish Government’s Mental Health and Protection of Rights Division, within the Directorate for Population Health Improvement).

SASW is represented on the implementation and reference group of the 2015 Act, which will become law in 2017, however it was very helpful to have this separate stakeholder’s meeting with MHO social workers who are the people who will be carrying out significant parts of the new legislation. Issues such as communication with practice on the ground, the challenges as well as the opportunities of working within integrated partnerships and the governance of Joint Integration Boards (JIBs), safeguarding the independence of the MHO role, recruitment and retention, MHO supervision, capacity, substituted and/or supported decision making, delayed discharge and determining the core responsibilities of the MHO were all items within a very productive and positive discussion.

We also focused on training and the development of clear guidance, particularly around named person, consent and detention. Explanation or assurance could not be provided on all matters, as we will not know about any unintended consequences until the legislation is in place, however establishing a platform for continuous dialogue with practitioners was seen as most helpful.

Please do get in touch with SASW is you have any pertinent issues you want us to share. Our input is to enable you to have a voice to influence this legislation.