Intended for healthcare professionals


Changes in laws are necessary to allow patients detained under Mental Health Act to vote

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 16 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:431
  1. Helen Smith, Research registrara,
  2. Martin Humphreys, Senior lecturer in forensic psychiatrya
  1. a Reaside Clinic, Birmingham B45 9BE

    Editor—Before the Representation of the People Act 1983 came into force many people with mental illness were denied the right to vote. Even after the act was passed it remained more difficult for people with mental illness to register to vote than it did for other people.1 Until recently, patients detained under the Mental Health Act had been assumed to be disenfranchised because they lacked a permanent address. Recently, the Home Office issued guidelines on the eligibility of people with mental illness to vote.2

    The day after the …

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