Final report of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act

Department of Health and Social Care written statement – made on 6th December 2018.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Modernising the Mental Health Act Increasing choice, reducing compulsion, the final report of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, has been published today.

The Government committed in its Manifesto to reform mental health legislation. As a first step towards this, the Prime Minister asked Professor Sir Simon Wessely to chair a full and independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983. We welcome this report, and would like to thank Sir Simon and his vice chairs for their achievement in setting out a set of recommendations that have the overall purpose of increasing patient rights and improving the way the Act works for people.

I can confirm that the Government will consider the report and its recommendations in detail, and will respond in due course. Our intention remains to reform mental health law and so the Government will develop and bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time allows.

I can today accept two of the report’s recommendations, which both highlight the Review’s focus on increasing the rights and autonomy of patients –

  • The establishment of new statutory advance choice documents (ACDs), so that people’s wishes and preferences can carry far more legal weight. These would enable people to express preferences on their care and treatment, to help ensure that these preferences are considered by clinicians, even when the person may be too ill to express themselves.
  • Ensuring that people have a say in which relative has power to act for them, through the creation of a new role of Nominated Person, to be chosen by the patient, rather than allocated to them from a list of relatives. This person would have enhanced powers in their role; both to be informed about the person’s detention in hospital and to be involved in decisions made about their care.

The report is available at:

I have deposited a copy of the report in both Libraries.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1121