BASW responds to interim report of the independent review of the Mental Health Act
BASW is encouraged that at the halfway stage of the independent review of the of the Mental Health Act (MHA) the interim report shows strong representation of service users’ often poor experiences of detention, and its desire to align changes with an increased focus on human rights.
“All too frequently we have heard about practices and procedures which fell short of respecting their dignity…it is clear that the MHA needs to change,” said the report.
BASW CEO Ruth Allen is leading the association’s involvement with the review and said: “I think it’s hugely important that the experiences of people on the receiving end of the mental health legal framework is absolutely at the centre of any recommendations and changes made.
“It is correct that the review at this stage has emphasised reducing detention and improving ward experience for services users, carers and nearest relatives.”
Furthermore, the report addresses the inequality of BAME overrepresentation in community treatment orders (CTOs) and secure care, and BASW is looking forward to the final review outlining meaningful pathways to improve this situation.
In addition, Allen says she will be seeking more clarity on the future role of AMHP’s as the review progresses.
“95% of AMHP’s are social workers and their duty is to offer a social approach and a social perspective in their social care responsibilities for service users, on behalf of local authorities. This workforce is dwindling though, and so we want the AMHP role to be given stronger recognition in this review.”
Allen said she will be also looking forward to further involvement in the review and, specifically, prioritising the profile of social work and social care in a wider context.
She added: “This is about social workers making important contributions to the mental health and wellbeing of people suffering mental health distress across the life span. There is a lot more scope to raise the profile of social workers in mental health policy.”