Mental Health Nurse Academics UK (MHNAUK) welcomes the publication today of the final report from the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983, chaired by Professor Sir Simon Wessely.
We recognise the tensions between the requirements to balance individual liberty and protection, and welcome the clear statement of principles underpinning the report: choice and autonomy, least restriction, therapeutic benefit and the person as an individual. In their day-to-day work nurses will continue to play vital roles in realising these principles in practice.
As members of the largest of the professional groups working in specialist mental health services, we recognise how today’s report directs attention to the need for improved services for people living with severe mental illnesses. We consider this both timely and necessary. People with complex, enduring, mental health problems deserve better. In a context of reductions in mental health nursing numbers and of retractions in services we look forward to new investments which, in the review team’s words, will enable ‘more accessible and responsive mental health crisis services and community-based mental health services that respond to people’s needs and keep them well’. We share the review team’s hopes that, in this way, the use of compulsory treatments can be minimised.