22 April 2021

News from BIHR

Reforming the Mental Health Act: our response

Yesterday, we responded to the Mental Health Act consultation.

The Reforming the Mental Health Act consultation was opened by the government in January 2021 to ask people about their views on the government’s proposals for changing the Mental Health Act. The proposals follow the government’s White Paper which showed that there are lots of issues with how the Mental Health Act is working.

Find out more about the Mental Health Act consultation process and the government’s suggestions for reform in our plan language Explainer, available here.

Our submission amplifies the voices of people accessing, or trying to access, mental health services and their loved ones, and staff working in those services. We called for an approach to reforming the Mental Health Act which recentres human rights, both in policy and practice.

Read our response here.

New easy read guide to the right to accessible information

Today, we launched a brand new easy read resource on the right to accessible information!

The guide is for anyone who is interested in the right to accessible information. Your right to accessible information means that you should be able to get information in a way that is best for you and you can easily understand.

Our new guide, made with the accessible information campaign group, will help you to understand what the right to accessible information is and how you can ask public services to communicate with you in a way you understand.

Find out more and read the guide here, or click the picture below:


Free, open human rights Lunch & Learns this month!

Every final Wednesday of the month, we hold free Lunch and Learns. Our Lunch and Learns are informal chats with a member of BIHR staff on a different human rights topic each month. Usually, access is exclusive to our Communities of Practice members.

But for April’s Lunch and Learns, we’ve decided to make them open access so everyone can join! This means you can come along even if you’re not a member of our Communities of Practice.

On Wednesday, we’re going to look at the right to private and family life.

Click the picture below to find out more, or follow this link

News from Elsewhere...

There has been lots of human rights issues in the news this week. Please be aware that the links to the news articles from other websites will open in a new tab:

  1. People with learning disabilities face 'being excluded' from democratic process, charity warns

    “Mencap, a charity for people with learning disabilities, has raised concerns about 'inaccessible language' and even some people with learning disabilities being turned away from polling stations at previous elections.”

    ITV News, 19 April 2021

  1. Grenfell Tower inquiry: We had no escape route, say disabled residents

    “Disabled residents of Grenfell Tower have told a public inquiry that no-one discussed with them how to escape the 24-storey building in an emergency.”

    BBC News, 20 April 2021

  2. Council breached Care Act duty by failing to offer accommodation within man’s budget, finds watchdog

    “Ombudsman finds Warwickshire council wrongly required man’s family to pay top-up and its failure to provide them with cost breakdown of package caused confusion.”

    Community Care, 20 April 2021

  3. Air pollution: Coroner calls for law change after Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah's death

    “A coroner has called for a change in the law after air pollution led to the death of a nine-year-old girl.”

    BBC News, 21 April 2021

  4. Telford hospital 'inadequate' in children's mental health care

    “A child was twice given double the "safe" dose of a rapid tranquilizer at a hospital run by a troubled NHS trust.”

    BBC News (England), 20 April 2021

  5. NHS staff wrongly given priority over Fermanagh man with rare genetic disorder, High Court is told

    “Lives are at risk amid alleged discrimination in Northern Ireland's vaccination programme, the High Court has heard.”

    Irish News, 15 April 2021

  6. Northern Ireland hospital staff face prosecution over alleged abuse

    “Seven staff at Muckamore Abbey psychiatric hospital will be charged with alleged ill-treatment and wilful neglect.”

    The Guardian, 16 April 2021

  7. Covid in Scotland: 'Mistake' to discharge Covid patients says Sturgeon

    “Nicola Sturgeon has said the way elderly people were discharged from hospital to care home in the early stages of the pandemic was a mistake.”

    BBC News (Scotland), 18 April 2021

  8. Home Office putting vulnerable asylum seekers at increased suicide risk in detention, doctors warn

    “Royal College of Psychiatrists calls on ministers to stop placing mentally unwell people in removal centres.”

    The Independent, 19 April 2021

  9. No 10 race report tries to normalise white supremacy, say UN experts

    “A controversial report into racial disparities in the UK attempts to “normalise white supremacy” and the government should reject its findings, UN human rights experts have warned.”

    The Guardian, 19 April 2021

    See: UN Experts Condemn UK Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report

    UN News, 19 April 2021

  10. Eating disorders: families tube-feeding patients at home amid NHS bed shortage

    “Extremely unwell eating disorder patients are having to be tube fed at home by their families owing to a lack of hospital beds, as the Royal College of Psychiatrists reports a rise in people being treated in units without specialist support.”

    The Guardian, 22 April 2021

Thanks for reading!


There has been a lot of sad human rights news this week, and we know it can be overwhelming. Why not take a moment to read our blog, Value of Human Rights in Health and Social Care: from Covid-19 and beyond, to remind yourself and reflect on the value that human rights have in helping us achieve dignified and independent lives.