18 November 2016

BIHR Comments on the Care Quality Commission’s Mental Health Act Report

Speaking about today’s publication of the Care Quality Commission’s Report on the Mental Health Act, Sanchita Hosali, Deputy Director of the British Institute of Human Rights said:

“The British Institute of Human Rights welcomes the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) clear position that its “job is to check that patients’ human rights are being protected,” including when looking at how services are applying the Mental Health Act (MHA). The Human Rights Act means other laws should be applied in ways that respect and protect people’s human rights; BIHR’s work empowering people receiving services, their advocates and service providers shows how important this is in mental health settings.

“The MHA enables services to make significant interventions in people’s lives, and human rights is an important check on the exercise of these powers. This means, for example, the right to liberty should only be restricted when necessary and with the relevant safeguards in place. Additionally, the right to respect for private and family life means protecting people’s autonomy, involvement, privacy and dignity and only allowing restrictions which are lawful, for a legitimate reason and proportionate.

“It is important that the CQC report has tackled some key human rights issues in mental health settings, such as blanket restrictions, locked wards, the provision of information and advocacy to patients, and consent to treatment. As BIHR’s work shows, a human rights spotlight can support practitioners to navigate such issues, redress power imbalances, and empower people receiving care and support to ensure good, accountable services.”

Find out more about BIHR’s project “Care and Support: A Human Rights Approach to Advocacy” and our work with advocates and services users, including our advocacy toolkit, here

Find more about BIHR’s project “Delivering Compassionate Care: Connecting Human Rights to the Frontline” and our work with mental health and mental capacity service providers, including our practitioner resources, here