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John Scott QC to lead review of mental health law

21 May 2019

Solicitor advocate John Scott QC is to chair a review for the Scottish Government of the legislation covering people with mental health issues.

The review into the working of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 was promised by ministers in March this year, along with a separate review into the delivery of forensic mental health services in Scotland. It will cover rights and protections for people with mental health conditions, along with how to remove barriers to those caring for their health and welfare, examining developments in law and practice since the 2003 Act came into force. Its recommendations are to reflect people’s social, economic and cultural rights as part of its consideration of the future shape of incapacity, mental health and adult support and protection legislation.

Announcing the appointment in a parliamentary answer, Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said Mr Scott "brings extensive experience within the areas of legislation and human rights and will also provide strong leadership in the delivery of an independent, evidence led review".

Mr Scott has previously carried out reviews for the Government into police stop and search powers, and the retention of biometric data, and is continuing to work on the review of the impact on communities of the policing of the miners' strike of 1984-85.

The forensic mental health services review, which covers the treatment of offenders with severe mental health issues, mostly in the State Hospital, Carstairs, will be carried out by Derek Barron, director of care, Erskine, who has long experience in mental health nursing across a number of NHS boards. A fall in the number of high security prisoners has led to questions about the best way to offer treatment.

Ms Haughey stated: "While it will be for the chairs to determine how the reviews are best taken forward, I have been clear that both reviews will be stakeholder driven and evidence led. We want to gather views from as wide a range of people as possible, including the voices of those with lived experience so that they can help shape the future direction of our legislation and the services that are provided to those with mental illness."


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