Mental Illness: Next of Kin

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 19th June 2018.

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Photo of Laura Pidcock Laura Pidcock Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason age is used as part of the definition of nearest relative under Section 26(3) of the Mental Health Act 1983.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Section 26 of the Mental Health Act 1983 establishes a hierarchy of people that may be identified as a person’s nearest relative when that person is detained under the Act.

The nearest relative role is important in that it provides a safeguard for people who are detained and ensures that the person’s family has a statutory role in their care.

The provision for the elder or eldest of a specific type of person, for example the detained person’s eldest son or daughter, to be identified as nearest relative, is to make sure that it is clear which person should be given this responsibility.

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