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Monitoring of new mental health laws, 27/03/03 [S]

Proposals to monitor the effectiveness of the new mental health laws in Scotland were outlined on 27 March 2003.

During the stage three debate on the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Bill, Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm announced the Executive would put in place arrangements for monitoring and evaluating the new Act once it comes into effect.

The Bill, passed by the Parliament on March 20 and waiting for Royal Assent, is the result of a major review of mental health law in Scotland and its provisions are wide-ranging and detailed.

The aims of the research programme, backed by funding of 1 million over five years, are to:

Inform the implementation of the new Act
Provide baseline information on the operation of the current Act for comparative purposes
Evaluate the operation and impact of the new Act
Assess whether the aims of introducing the new Act have been achieved
The consultation exercise is being undertaken to seek the views of interested parties in the development of the research programme.

The paper also provides information about the consultation process, the research programme, provides context for the new Act and broader mental health policy in Scotland.

The proposed research programme takes the Millan principles as a base point for evaluating the operation of the new Act. The principles provide for an effective and fairer system of mental health law. They will inform the design and analysis of all research relating to people with mental disorder and those who care for them.

Provisions of the new Act will affect people in many of the professions engaged with people with mental disorder. New systems and service arrangements, and new and enhanced responsibilities for staff will all change practice. There will be implications for recruitment and training, as well as for caseload and working patterns. The proposed research programme seeks to track the effects of the new law on these structures and professionals, as well as on those who use mental health services.

The consultation paper outlines the four broad areas under the new Act where research will concentrate:

Compulsory measures: use and outcomes
Compulsory treatment: the decision making process
People with mental disorder within the criminal justice system
Mental health law: rights, duties and powers
The deadline for consultation responses is June 30.

For more information see Scottish Executive News Release: SEHD407/2003