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Have your Say in Landmark Changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 before April 21st 2021 deadline.

Updated: Mar 28, 2021

In 2017 the UK government asked for an independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA), to look at how it’s used and to suggest ways to improve it. The review’s final report said that the Mental Health Act 1983 does not always work as well as it should for patients, their families and their carers.

Government is now proposing a wide range of changes to rebalance the Mental Health Act 1983, to put patients at the center of decisions about their own care and ensure everyone is treated equally.

The changes are based on 4 principles that have been developed with people with lived experience of the MHA.

They are:

• Choice and autonomy – ensuring service users’ views and choices are respected

• Least restriction – ensuring the MHA’s powers are used in the least restrictive way

• Therapeutic benefit – ensuring patients are supported to get better, so they can be discharged from the MHA

• The person as an individual – ensuring patients are viewed and treated as individuals

In Wales, the Code of Practice to the Mental Health Act 1983 was last revised in 1999.

Although health policy is devolved to Wales, justice matters remain reserved to the UK government.

• Since then, devolution has meant that the Welsh Ministers have become directly responsible for health and social services in Wales.

• Wales have a distinctive and separate Code of Practice for Wales, and it reflects Welsh policy and strategy, and priority for mental health services in Wales.

• The Code has been prepared and is issued under section 118 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (the Act) by the Welsh Ministers. The Code came into force in November 2008.

• The Welsh Ministers are required to keep the operation of the Code under review and wants to also work with stakeholders and consult widely in drawing up an updated Code of Practice.

The main changes that Government want to make to the Mental Health Act

Mental health staff should listen to what people getting care think and the choices they make. This should be a big part of people’s care.

People should only be kept in hospital if they really need to be.

Hospital care should help people to get better. This is so they can leave as soon as possible.

Mental health staff should think about each person and what is right for them. Everyone should be treated fairly.

Would you like to contribute to the Open consultation initiated by the Department of Health and Social Care, reforming the Mental Health Act before the Deadline of April 21st, 2021, please visit or contact BMHS at

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