Update Mental Health Act 2007.

SUMMARY OF THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2007 As at 19th July 2007.  

The Mental Health Act 2007 gained Royal Assent on the 19th of July 2007; it amends the Mental Health Act 1983, the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. 

 Key provisions within the Mental Health Act 2007 

Although the structure of the Mental Health Act 1983 remains intact, some significant changes have been made to it by the 2007 legislation.  They include:


§     The introduction of a simplified definition of mental disorder that will apply throughout the Act, and the abolition of the current four separate categories of mental disorder

§     A requirement that appropriate treatment must be available if patients are to be subject to detention or the new provisions for supervised treatment in the community

§     The introduction of supervised community treatment, which will be available for patients following an initial period of detention and treatment in hospital

§     The replacement of the Responsible Medical Officer with a Responsible Clinician, who need not be a consultant psychiatrist (but must be an ‘approved clinician’)

§     The replacement of the Approved Social Worker with an Approved Mental Health Professional; in addition to registered social workers other mental health professionals will be able to take on the role of AMHP after suitable training

§     A new ground for an application to be made to the county court for the nearest relative of a patient to be displaced, and a new power to enable the patient to apply to the county court for the displacement of their nearest relative

§     A duty on hospital managers to ensure that an age-appropriate environment is provided to all patients who are under the age of 18 years

§     For capacious 16 or 17 year old patients their consent or refusal to admission informally may not be overridden by a person with parental responsibility for them

§     A requirement that those performing functions under the Act have regard to the Code of Practice published under the Act, and that the Code includes a statement of principles that must inform decisions taken under the Act

§     Abolition of the power to impose electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) on a capacious detained patient in a non-emergency situation

§     The introduction of a new independent mental health advocacy scheme for qualifying patients

§     Changes to the provisions that require the Hospital Managers to refer a patient’s case to the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT)

§     The abolition of finite restriction orders

§     The power to transfer a s136 patient from one place of safety to another

§     A new power to “take and convey” a guardianship patient to the place where they are required to reside

§     Increase the tariff for an offence of ill-treatment


The amendments to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 will provide a procedure for the authorisation of the deprivation of liberty of persons resident in hospital or care home, who lack capacity (for the decision to reside there), and who are not subject to the mental health legislation safeguards.  These are known as the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).


The amendment to the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 will extend victim’s rights to information about the discharge of mentally disordered offenders.


Next steps


The Welsh Ministers are preparing the subordinate legislation arising from the 2007 Act and the Acts that the new legislation amends.  The Lord Chancellor will be preparing the MHRT Rules.


There will be a new Mental Health Act Code of Practice for Wales, and a new Code for England.  The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice (which covers England and Wales) will be amended to include guidance on the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.


It is anticipated that most of the provisions of the 2007 Act will be brought into force in England and Wales in October 2008.

 Mental Health Act Implementation Project 

The Welsh Assembly Government has established an implementation project to secure full and successful transition to the amended legislative frameworks without detriment to either service users, carers, staff or public, within the timescales set by the legislative process.


The Assembly will be issuing revised Implementation Guidance shortly, and further guidance and information will also be made available in due course.


For further information on the Mental Health Act 2007 or the Assembly’s Implementation Project, please contact:


                        Claire Fife, Mental Health Act Implementation Project Manager

                        Welsh Assembly Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff. CF10 3NQ


                        Email: Claire.fife@wales.gsi.gov.uk


A copy of the Act is available online at the Office of Public Service Information: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2007a.htm


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