Views called for on changes to mental health legislation


Views on changes to the treatment of those with mental health disorders have today been called for by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee.

The Mental Health (Scotland) Bill amends the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Scotland Act 2003 and proposals include creating a new central register of advance statements to be held by the Mental Welfare Commission. Advance statements are documents where mentally ill patients record how they want to be treated in the event of them losing the capacity to make their own decisions.

Other proposals in the legislation would allow mentally ill patients to decide not to have a named person assigned to them if they choose. The named person can make decisions about how the patient is treated if they are unable to decide themselves.

The draft Bill also extends the criminal justice victim notification scheme. Currently, the victim notification scheme only applies if the perpetrator of the crime is serving their sentence in a prison. The legislation proposes that it will now be extended to offenders who are detained in hospital under a mental health order. Victims will be notified if the offender is about to be released, on a permanent or temporary basis, or if they have absconded.

Convener of the Committee, Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“The quick and effective treatment of those with mental health problems is vital if we are to provide high quality care.

“We want to hear from people from across Scotland, particularly service users and their representatives, as it’s vital for us as a Committee when we are scrutinising these new proposals that we determine if this legislation will result in improved outcomes for those that need it.”

Deputy Convener of the Committee Bob Doris MSP said:

“This legislation is a result of a review undertaken to identify ways in which the current legislation could be improved.  However, The Committee’s role is to hear from a wide range of voices, including those that will be directly affected by this legislation. 

“Part of the Bill will also extend the criminal justice victim notification scheme to the victims of mentally disordered offenders. We need to determine the impact of this change not only on the victims but on the offenders as well, who will often have complex mental health needs”.

The Committee is asking for the views of stakeholder, service users and anyone with a view on the proposed legislation the following questions:

  • Do you agree with the general policy direction set by the Bill?
  • Do you have any comments on specific proposals regarding amendments to the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Scotland Act 2003 as set out in Part 1 of the Bill?
  • Do you have any comments on the provisions in Part 2 of the Bill on criminal cases?
  • Do you have any comments to make on Part 3 of the Bill and the introduction of a victim notification scheme for mentally disordered offenders?
  • Is there anything from the McManus Report that’s not been addressed in the Bill and that you consider merits inclusion in primary legislation? If so, please set out why.
  • Do you have any other comment to make about the Bill not already covered in your answers to the questions above?


The Mental Health (Scotland) Bill was published on 19 June. The deadline for the call for evidence is Friday 22 August.

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