What is the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2017?
The Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2017 is a Bill that seeks to make some important changes to the Mental Health Act, 2001. The changes proposed in the Bill will strengthen the rights and protections of people have when they are receiving treatment in hospital for their mental health. Some of the changes include:
- Introduce a definition of a ‘voluntary patient’ to include only people who have capacity to make their own decisions (with support if required) and who do give their consent to admission to hospital. At the moment, people who do not have the capacity to consent to admission and who do not object to admission are being considered voluntary patients, even though they are not able to consent to admission.
- Replace the existing principle of ‘best interests’ under the Mental Health Act, 2001 with principles of the Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Act, 2015. The 'best interests' principle has been interpreted very paternalistically in the Courts and has sustained a culture where, at times, the views of the doctor have been given priority over the views of the service user.
You can read a full breakdown here.