|Mental Health Bill [HL] - continued||House of Commons|
|back to previous text|
246. The additional public sector costs are estimated to be approximately £22 million in the first full year of implementation: about £10 million for the amendments to the 1983 Act and £12 million for the amendments to the MCA. These costs will rise to about £34 million (£31 million for the 83 Act and £3 million for the MCA) once steady state has been reached after six years.
247. Most of the costs associated with the amendments to the 1983 Act arise from the introduction of SCT, i.e. the costs associated with supporting people in the community, and from additional tribunals. The costs arising from the amendments to the MCA arise from the provision of safeguards for patients who lack capacity and are deprived of their liberty and who are not under mental health legislation.
248. There are also some pre-implementation costs and there will be additional costs associated with the use of the order-making power to reduce the referral to the MHRT, which will depend on how the power is used. Detailed costings are set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessment.
249. The Bill will involve additional public sector manpower of about 260 in the first full year, falling to about 130 once steady state has been reached after six years. Again, details are contained in the Regulatory Impact Assessment.
250. In addition, the amendments which were inserted by the House of Lords, and which the Government opposed, in relation to age-appropriate treatment would have additional costs.
251. A Regulatory Impact Assessment has been produced to accompany the Bill and is available on www.dh.gov.uk.
EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
252. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The Secretary of State for Health, the Rt. Hon. Patricia Hewitt M.P., has made the following statement: In my view the provisions of the Mental Health Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.
253. Special attention has been given to ensure that the Bill is fully compliant with Convention rights because mental health patients are a particularly vulnerable group. Although wherever possible people with mental health problems are treated without compulsion, where this is not the case, the necessary curtailment of their rights must be within a legislative framework that is compatible with Convention rights with proper safeguards to protect those rights.
254. The Bill raises issues under Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 5 (right to liberty and security), Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) and Article 3 of Protocol 1 (right to free elections).
Criteria for detention
255. Clauses 4 and 5 amend the criteria for detention in the 1983 Act. In the Government's view, these changes are not required by Article 5, but are compatible with it.
Patient's nearest relative
256. Clauses 26-29 of the Bill introduce the ability for the patient to apply to the county court to discharge his or her NR and introduces a new ground on which an application may be made which concerns the suitability of the person to be the NR. It is considered that this is compatible with the patient's Article 8 right to respect for private and family life and remedies the finding of incompatibility against the Government in two cases.
Supervised community treatment
257. Clauses 32-34 and Schedules 3 and 4 introduce the ability to treat patients who have previously been detained in hospital in the community. These provisions engage Articles 5, 8 and 14. A person who is made subject to a CTO can be recalled, or have their CTO revoked, only in a manner, and on a basis, that is compatible with these Convention rights and so as to avoid arbitrariness. The reason for recalling a patient to hospital when the patient is subject to a CTO must be related to the patient's need to be treated in hospital and the interests of the patient's health and safety or the safety of others, in order to ensure the patient's ECHR rights are not breached. Patients who are subject to a CTO are given new rights to apply or have their case automatically referred to the Tribunal to meet the requirements of Article 5.
Mental Health Review Tribunals
258. The Tribunals in England and Wales will continue to be the forum for review of detention. Clause 36 amends the 1983 Act so that all types of civil cases (including guardianship order patients transferred to hospital, but not Part 3 hospital order patients) are to be referred to the Tribunal by the hospital managers at the expiry of 6 months from the applicable date (generally being the date the patient was initially detained under the 1983 Act) unless an application has already been made, for example by the patient or the patient's NR, or the case has otherwise been referred to the Tribunal. This is compatible with the requirements of Article 5 that detained patients have speedy access to a "court" 3, to decide the lawfulness of detention, and protects the rights of the patient to be free of arbitrary detention.
3 Not necessarily a court of the classic kind. In Benjamin & Wilson v the UK (2003)36 EHRR 1) the court held it must have necessary judicial procedures, appropriate safeguards, and be independent of the parties and the executive.
259. Clause 39 will repeal the power for the Crown Court to make a restriction order for a specified period. The effect of the repeal is that restriction orders can no longer be "limited". They will remain in force until discharged by the Secretary of State or the MHRT. Restriction orders engage Article 5 (deprivation of liberty) and specifically Article 5(4), the requirement for an independent judicial review of deprivation of liberty, with power to order discharge, and bring restrictions to an end. That review will continue to be provided unchanged by the Tribunal. The Government's view is that the amendment leaves the provision fully compliant with the ECHR.
Members of Parliament and members of the devolved assemblies
260. Section 141 of the 1983 Act provides for the seats of Members of Parliament and the devolved assemblies to be vacated where the members is detained under mental health legislation. At present this applies only where the member is detained on the grounds of mental illness. Schedule 1 extends this to mental disorder generally. This engages Article 3 of Protocol 1 which has been interpreted to include a right to stand for electoral office. The Government's view is that this interference pursues a legitimate aim, namely the removal of a member in specified circumstances when he or she is suffering from mental disorder, and is proportionate.
Amendments to the Mental Capacity Act 2005
261. Part 2 of the Bill engages the Article 5 right to liberty and security, the Article 8 right to respect for private and family life and the Article 14 prohibition of discrimination Part 2 of the Bill sets out to remedy the finding of incompatibility with the ECHR by the European Court in the case of HL v United Kingdom, commonly known as the "Bournewood gap". There is provision in the Bill to set out a procedure in law and provide relevant safeguards to close the "Bournewood gap". This is achieved by amending the MCA to permit authorisation of deprivation of liberty if certain qualifying requirements are met. It is the Government's view that this makes provisions fully compliant with the relevant articles of the ECHR.
262. The commencement clause (clause 53) provides for the Act to be commenced by order of the Secretary of State, with the agreement of Welsh Ministers.
Functions of Welsh Ministers
|© Parliamentary copyright 2007||Prepared: 23 March 2007|