The Mental Health Bill 2014
Breaking news this year was the publication of the Mental Health Bill 2014. The Mental Health Bill seeks to amend the Mental Health Act 1986 and when it commences and becomes law on 1 July 2014 seeks to introduce reforms in relation to legal understandings of capacity of people with mental illness to assist them make decisions as to their treatment and care and, if need be, for such people to be supported in those decisions. Further reforms involve the clarification of patient's rights in regard to Treatment Orders, the making complaints and the introduction of legal mechanisms and safeguards when Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) is required. In essence the reform agenda increases safeguards, promotes rights and provides legal scope for people with mental illness to be more able to make decisions as to treatment. It remains to be seen whether the Bill gets passed and whether its implementation will change treatment and improve mental health service.