Norman LambThe government has opened a consultation on proposed changes to the Mental Health Act (1983) Code of Practice.

The Code – last updated in 2008 – informs health practitioners’ decisions, protects patients’ rights and ensures that the Mental Health Act is followed. The Code tells families, carers and people who are detained, treated or released under the Act about care and support available during a crisis. It also covers what to do if it isn’t received.

In 2012-13, there were more than 45,000 detentions in hospital in England under the Mental Health Act. However, the Care Quality Commission’s annual report into the application of the Act indicated the Code was not being consistently applied, can be misunderstood, or ignored altogether. 

The review of the Code will make sure it reflects changes in law and developments in professional practice and policy within the mental health arena, as well as providing guidance for best care for people experiencing severe mental ill health.

The draft Code includes new chapters on: 

The Care Programme Approach

Equality, human rights and parity of esteem 

Mental capacity and deprivation of liberty 


Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said: “I want to build a fairer society with better mental health for everyone.

“We're reviewing the Mental Health Act Code of Practice to make sure health professionals, patients, relatives and carers have clear, up-to-date guidance on what people can expect when they are detained under the Act. We're asking for views on how the Code can best include recent changes in mental health such as improvements to crisis care and work to substantially reduce the use of restraint.”

The consultation is open until September 12. To take part, follow the information on this page