Following public consultation the government has introduced a revised code of practice for the Mental Health Act 1983.

The code has been revised to take account of consultation findings and to reflect changes in legislation, case law, policy and professional practice since it was last amended in 2008.

The code is designed to ensure that anyone experiencing mental disorder and being treated under the act is receiving the right care, treatment and support, knows what their rights are, and is aware of what they can do if they think the code is being applied incorrectly.

Main changes in the revised code include the following:

  • five new guiding principles;
  • new chapters on care planning, human rights, equality and health inequalities;
  • consideration of when to use the act, and when to use the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and deprivation of liberty safeguards;
  • new sections on physical healthcare and duties to support patients with dementia; and
  • further guidance on how to support children and young people.

The code has been presented to Parliament for approval. If approved, it will come into force on 1 April 2015.