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Implementation of mental health Act 2003, 19/06/03 [S]

The Executive has outlined progress on the implementation of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

The update, issued in the first edition of a new dedicated newsletter, also seeks views on the target date for the Act to come into effect.

The newsletter, Reforming Mental Health Law, is the first of a planned series on implementing the new Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2003. The newsletter introduces some of the work the Executive will be taking forward to implement the new Act and to support service development, to ensure the benefits the Act promises are achieved in reality. It aims to:

  • increase awareness and understanding of the new Act

  • encourage people to anticipate the implications of the Act for them

  • explain what is being done to implement the Act, and to enable people to get involved in that process


The newsletter was launched at a Moving the Agenda Forward mental health services event held in Edinburgh on Thursday, June 19.

Recognising that there is a great deal of work to do before the Act can be brought into effect, the Executive is taking forward a number of strands of work that includes:

  • setting up the new Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland

  • developing a Code of Practice and other information on the new Act

  • supporting arrangements for training on the new Act

  • developing arrangements for monitoring, assessment and research

  • in some areas, developing and making secondary legislation (such as Regulations) for the legal framework

  • raising awareness of the new Act


The preliminary, provisional coming-into-effect date is October 2004. There is a need to fix a firm target date now that the Executive, together with the wider field and bodies concerned, have been able to assess the implications of the Act's provisions and the infrastructure needed to be in place to ensure the legislation is implemented in a way that does justice to these provisions.

Considering this context for implementation, views are sought on the proposals for:

aiming to bring the main provisions of the Act into effect on 1 April 2005

bringing some self-contained provisions (such as those relating to the making of advance statements and the nomination of named persons) into effect on 1 October 2004

As wide a range of views as possible are being sought on the target date for coming-into-effect, after which the Executive will announce a target date.

The deadline for comments is Friday 25 July.

The new Act provides:

  • new rights for people with mental disorders and places new and extended duties on those providing services to them

  • new, fairer procedures for the compulsory treatment of people with mental disorder

  • fairer and safer procedures in relation to people with mental disorder within the criminal justice system


The newsletter can be accessed on Scottish Executive website and will be distributed to individuals, voluntary organisations, NHS staff, local authority contacts, agencies and other groups working in the mental health field.

Consultation responses on the date for implementation can be sent to:
Mental Health Act Implementation Team
Scottish Executive Health Department
St Andrew's House
3EN
EDINBURGH, EH1 3DG

e-mail: mentalhealthlawmailbox@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Further Information

  1. Mental Health Legislation website
  2. Mental Health Legislation Implementation Newsletter