The struggle to make sense of changes in Scottish mental health legislation

Received from Fiona Sinclair   –   Autism Rights

Autism Rights has been campaigning for nearly 4 years to bring about
legislative change that could be about to happen this Wednesday (24th June) in the Scottish Parliament.

We want to take people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Learning Disabilities out of the provisions of the Mental Health Act, which gives psychiatrists the power to `treat` people with ASD, just for autistic behaviours.

Would you be able to help us out?

The Mental Health Act is currently undergoing revision, through the Mental Health Bill, and we are backing several amendments, that would improve matters for people with ASD – and others – in the mental health system. These include an amendment by Jackie Baillie MSP asking for a Review of the Mental Health Act within a specific timescale, to consider removing people with Learning Disabilities `however manifested` from the provisions of the Act. Jackie’s
Amendment is supported by the Learning Disability Cross Party Group, to which I gave a talk on this very subject and raised this as an issue back in 2012;-
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/CrossPartyGroups/Learning%20Disability/
minutes_20130321.pdf
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/CrossPartyGroups/Learning%20Disability/
minutes_20121107.pdf

I worked with my constituency MSP, Adam Ingram, to submit Amendments at Stage 2 of the Bill and these have now been taken up and re-worded by Richard Simpson MSP at Stage 3. I have copied and pasted the text of the relevant amendments below.

I have written 2 articles to support our `Call for Action` on legislative
change, and these are published on Newsnet Scotland. These are the links for the 2 articles:-
http://newsnet.scot/2015/06/autism-and-the-madness-of-the-mental-health-act/
http://newsnet.scot/2015/06/we-should-face-up-to-the-madness-of-the-scottish-mental-health-system/
They are also publicised here:-
https://commonspace.scot/articles/1660/newsnet-scotland-we-should-face-up-to-the-madness-of-the-scottish-mental-health-system
https://holeousia.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/sign-guideline-98-autism-spectrum-disorders/
http://chrysmuirheadwrites.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/fiona-sinclair-autism-rights-articles.html

I would be very grateful if you could contact  both your constituency and regional list MSPs and ask them to read my articles and support these amendments. Their contact details are available here:-
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps/current-msps.aspx

Please could you inform your own members about the Bill, my articles on Newsnet Scotland and Autism Rights’ `Call for Action`? Even if the Amendments are successful, we are going to need pressure from the families of people with ASD to help drive the change we need.

Can you also help to spread the message about my articles and the Amendments to the Bill on social media, if you use either Twitter or Facebook? It would also help if you could post a comment at
the end of my first article, `Autism and the Madness of the Mental Health Act`, as the more comments there are, the more this will show MSPs that there is backing for the Amendments to the Bill and for the improvements we seek to services for people with ASD.

Here is some further information that you might like to give your MSPs:-

This statement from the United Nations makes it quite clear that people with disabilities should not be forced or coerced into taking these drugs:-
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15183&LangID=E- Statement on article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Please note that a campaign to effect improvement to the lives of disabled people in England – the LB Bill campaign – incorporates the same measure as Autism Rights’ `Call for Action`, to take people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Learning Disabilities out of the provisions of the Mental Health Act. This campaign has received the support of more than half of Westminster’s MPs, including 26 SNP MPs, although it will not affect us in Scotland.
https://lbbill.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/lb-bill-draft-2-quick-guide.pdf

Westminster’s Green Paper also considers the same options:-
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/03/06/give-people-learning-disabilities-right-named-social-worker-says-lamb/
Mental Health Act changes`The act should be amended to cover people with learning disability or autism ‘more appropriately’. Options include excluding learning disability and autism from the act’s definition of ‘mental disorder’ or altering the current learning disability qualification.`

This article shows how long families with people with ASD have been
battling to try to extricate their sons from the mental health system:-
http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/autistic-adults-locked-up-after-false-diagnosis-1-1359567
– Autistic adults locked up after false diagnosis
28 January 2002

all the best,

Fiona Sinclair
Autism Rights
 

AMENDMENTS

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/BusinessBulletin/9
0541.aspx
– *New amendments to Bills lodged on 15 June 2015*
*Mental Health (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3*
*After section 27*
*Jackie Baillie*
*1 *After section 27, insert—
/<Review of the meaning of “mental disorder”/
*Review of the meaning of “mental disorder”*
(1) The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 is
amended as follows.
(2) After section 328 there is inserted—
*“328A Review of meaning of “mental disorder”*
(1) The Scottish Ministers must carry out a review of the definition of
mental disorder no later than 3 years after the Mental Health (Scotland)
Act 2015 receives Royal Assent.
(2) The purpose of the review under subsection (1) is to consider whether
“learning disability” should continue to be within the meaning of “mental
disorder”.
(3) In carrying out a review under subsection (1) the Scottish Ministers
must consult such persons as they consider appropriate.
(4) The Scottish Ministers must—
(a) publish a report—
(i) setting out the findings of the report under subsection (1),
(ii) making a recommendation as to whether “learning disability” should
continue to be within the meaning of “mental disorder”,
(b) lay a copy of that report before the Parliament.
(5) The Scottish Ministers must make provision by regulations for the
removal of “learning disability” from the meaning of “mental disorder”
where a report under subsection (4) recommends that “learning disability”
should not continue to be within the meaning of “mental disorder”.”.
(3) In section 326 (orders, regulations and rules), in subsection (4)(c) for
the words “or 310” there is substituted “310 or 328A”.>

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/BusinessBulletin/9
0689.aspx
– *Mental Health (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3*
*Section 2A*
*Dr Richard Simpson*
*24 *After section 2A, insert—
/<Use of psychotropic substances/
*Use of psychotropic substances*
(1) The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 is
amended as follows.
(2) After section 242 (treatment not mentioned in section 234(2), 237(3)
or 240(3)), there is inserted—
*“242A* *Scottish Ministers’ power to make provision in relation to
psychotropic substances*
(1) Regulations must prescribe conditions that must be satisfied before
treatment by psychotropic substances may be given to a patient—
(a) who has a learning disability; and
(b) where the giving of medical treatment to the patient is authorised by
virtue of this Act or the 1995 Act.
(2) For the purposes of this section, a psychotropic substance is a
substance which is listed in any of Schedules 1 to IV of the Psychotropic
Substances Convention.”.>

*After section 27*
*Dr Richard Simpson*
*35 *After section 27, insert—
/<The Commission: statistical information/
*The Commission: statistical information*
(1) The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 is
amended as follows.
(2) In section 19 (statistical information)—
(a) the words “, in accordance with directions given to it by the Scottish
Ministers,” are repealed,
(b) after the words “other information” there is inserted “of such kind as
may be prescribed in regulations”,
(c) the existing text becomes subsection (1),
(d) after that subsection, there is inserted—
“(2) Before making regulations under subsection (1), the Scottish
Ministers shall consult such persons as they consider appropriate.”.
(3) In subsection (4)(c) of section 326 (orders, regulations and rules) after
the words “regulations under section” there is inserted “19(1)”.>
*Dr Richard Simpson*
*36 *After section 27, insert—
</Review of deaths in detention or otherwise in hospital for treatment for a
mental disorder/
*Review of deaths in detention or otherwise in hospital for treatment for a
mental disorder*
(1) The Scottish Ministers must carry out a review of the arrangements for
investigating the deaths of patients who, at the time of death, were—
(a) detained in hospital by virtue of—
(i) the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003;
(ii) the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995; or
(b) admitted voluntarily to hospital for the purpose of receiving treatment
for a mental disorder.
(2) The review must be carried out within 3 years of this section coming
into force.
(3) In carrying out a review under subsection (1), the Scottish Ministers
must consult—
(a) where practicable, the nearest relatives of patients within the meaning
of subsection (1);
(b) such other persons as they consider appropriate.
(4) The Scottish Ministers must—
(a) publish a report setting out the findings of the review under subsection
(1);
(b) lay a copy of that report before the Parliament;
(c) notify those persons consulted under subsection (3) of the publication
of the report.”.>

Fiona Sinclair, of the pressure group Autism Rights, describes the struggle to make sense of changes in Scottish mental health legislation in the first of a two part series.

The Scottish Parliament is currently considering a Mental Health Bill which is addressing some of the deficiencies outlined by the last major review of mental health legislation – the McManus Review – in 2009.

 

READ IN FULL ON THIS LINK

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