New Proposals For Mental Health Rights

People With Mental Health Conditions, Learning Disabilities, And Autism To Be Given New Rights

06.03.2015

Proposals to provide more rights for people with learning disabilities, mental health conditions and autism, putting them in charge of their care, are to be unveiled by the government.

The changes, currently being put out to consultation, will aim to strengthen people's rights to challenge decisions made about their care, and promote community support as an alternative to hospital.

Other planned measures include having named professionals in charge of sharing information with an individual and their relatives, and placing a responsibility on local authorities to check the amount of community support available.

Care Minister Norman Lamb admitted that many families felt their concerns had been ignored in the past, with the proposals seeking to address this issue and improve accountability.

The consultation, which will take place in England only, will also look at changing the way the Mental Health Act applies to people with autism and learning disabilities.

Discussing the reforms, Mr Lamb said: "This is fundamentally about transferring power to people and away from institutions.

"We have to end the horror of families feeling that they aren't listened to, that their concerns are ignored. Just because an individual is sectioned under the Mental Health Act shouldn't mean that the family is excluded."

We can help you to claim compensation for clinical negligence if a serious injury or fatality has occurred as a result of inadequate supervision and care. See our Mental Health Negligence Compensation page for more information.

Expert Opinion
There have been a number of high-profile cases in recent years in which people with learning disabilities and their families have not been listened to, leading to shocking cases of both abuse and neglect.

"It is welcome news that concrete steps are being taken to ensure that vulnerable people are given more rights on key aspects of their care and support, with a view to ensuring that their voices are heard and their autonomy respected.

"However, this is only the first step along the way and it is vital that the next government listens to the views put forward in the consultation and ensures that the necessary changes are made to the law."
Mathieu Culverhouse, Associate