Editorials

New mental health legislation

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7467.634 (Published 16 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:634
  1. Rajan Darjee, lecturer in forensic psychiatry ([email protected]),
  2. John Crichton, consultant forensic psychiatrist ([email protected])
  1. Division of Psychiatry, Kennedy Tower, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh EH10 5HF
  2. Division of Psychiatry, Kennedy Tower, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh EH10 5HF

    Scottish legislation, based on “care and treatment,” has lessons to offer

    Reform of mental health legislation in England and Wales has caused widespread concern.1 2 Initial recommendations, from an expert committee for progressive and ethical reform, mutated into an initial draft bill uniting all interested organisations in opposition.3 Despite suggestions that the bill would be shelved,4 a revised draft bill, apparently addressing the concerns expressed, has been published. Meanwhile Scotland has new legislation—the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. Several organisations have pointed towards Scottish reform as an example of how things should be approached south of the border.3

    The Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984 is similar to the Mental Health Act 1983, both tracing origins to the Percy Report of 1957.5 In Scotland, in parallel with review in England and Wales, well received recommendations from an expert committee led to a positive response from government.68 The new act received royal assent in April 2003 and starts in April 2005. Major differences in Scotland are that the act adheres to recommendations …

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