Dr Kevin Cleary responds to the Reforming the Mental Health Act White Paper

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Content originally from Care Quality Commission

Responding to the government’s Reforming the Mental Health Act White Paper published today, Dr Kevin Cleary, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (lead for mental health) at the CQC, said:

“Today’s White Paper outlines a number of important reforms to the Mental Health Act (MHA) that if implemented will improve the care and treatment received by the thousands of people subject to the Act each year. In particular, we welcome the focus on empowering people to have more control and choice over their treatment and the commitment to take action to address the disproportionate number of detentions of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. These are both areas of concern we have repeatedly raised in our Monitoring the Mental Health Act reports.

“We support proposals to improve how people with a learning disability and autistic people are treated. As highlighted in our review of restraint, seclusion and segregation, people with a learning disability and autistic people often ended up in hospital because they did not have the right support in the community at the time they and their families needed it. Once in hospital, people were often not receiving specialist treatment and care and there was often nothing in place to support them to leave hospital. We are therefore pleased to see a commitment to ensuring the availability of community alternatives and to reduce the reliance on inpatient services for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

“CQC will continue to monitor how people are impacted by the MHA through our MHA visiting, complaints and Second Opinion Appointed Doctor service and through our inspections of mental health services. We are committed to strengthening how we do this and are currently working with people who use services, families, providers and other stakeholders to improve how we regulate mental health, learning disability and autism services, particularly those where there is a high risk of a closed culture developing.”