This blog is part of the series which will cover, in detail, the amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 within the Policing and Crime Act 2017. This post is one of several which relates not the amendments themselves, but to the implications arising from them.
For background to the series, see the introductory post which outlines why Iâ€™m doing this and what other specific issues will be covered concerning laws that will come in to effect in the next few months. We now know the changes will take place on 11th December 2017.
We now know we are staring down the barrel of the Policing and Crime Act amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 â€“ they are just four weeks away, as of today. In the last week, Iâ€™ve had numerous phone calls from forces and emails from officers asking â€˜what ifâ€™ type questions â€¦ basically, asking what the operational answers will be to situations we all hope wonâ€™t emerge, but which history suggests are quite likely. Not all of these problems will emerge in every area, so Iâ€™m not predicting that everything will grind to a halt, but I would suggest most of these problems are likely to occur in at least one part of the country OR are likely to occur as an occasional problem in areas where things usually work well.
This post can be added to in the future, because Iâ€™ve started off with just those questions Iâ€™ve received so far and a few Iâ€™ve thought of just during a train journey to London! There may well be others and no doubt some I havenâ€™t though of at all â€¦ fire them and we can all get thinking. This post is just to get us to start that process of us thinking about a potential Plan B, for those occasions where Plan A just isnâ€™t possible, for whatever reason â€”
These are jut some of the â€˜what ifâ€™ questions: if you have others, please leave them in a comment, below and Iâ€™ll answer them if I can by adding to this post. Itâ€™s clear just from paying attention on social media that all areas are not going to get this right all of the time from 11th December. Some areas have particular issues (like where to take children) and others may just have occasional capacity problems. Given the restrictions under the â€˜oldâ€™ system will almost completely vanish, identification of a Plan B and the knowledge required to activate and navigate through it, will be crucial.
This stuff isnâ€™t going to be hard in theory: itâ€™s going to be hard in practice so take the time in advanced of December 11th to get your head round both Plans!
Winner of the Presidentâ€™s Medal from
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award.