Commission welcomes report on Mental Health Bill

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee Stage 1 Report on the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill.

Following the Bill’s introduction in June 2014, the Commission submitted evidence to the Committee highlighting the Bill’s potential impact on people’s human rights. We recommended a series of actions including encouraging greater use of Advance Statements; developing an opt-in approach to nominating Named Persons; and strengthening the duty to provide independent advocacy for people with mental health problems.

Cathy Asante, Legal Officer for the Commission, said:

“We are pleased that the Health and Sport Committee has recognised that any new legislation should protect the rights of people accessing mental health treatment. As the Committee notes, and as the Commission’s evidence highlighted, there are several areas where the draft Bill could be strengthened to do this more effectively. We now look forward to the Scottish Government’s response.”

It is expected that the Bill will be debated by the Scottish Parliament by the end of February 2015.