Patients rights must be at heart of mental health bill

Scottish Liberal Democrats today backed the principle of Scottish Government plans to reform access to mental health services.

During the Stage 1 debate of the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume said efforts to make the mental health system more efficient should not be done at the expense of patients’ rights.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Hume said:

“Scottish Liberal Democrats support the broad aims of this bill, which have the potential to make the system more efficient and accessible for patients, NHS staff and partners. However I have real concerns over the protection of patients’ rights given some of the plans to expand access to their private information, such as their advance statement.

“Whilst moves to strengthen the role of the Mental Health Officer in the detention and tribunals of patients is welcome, Scottish Government ministers must recognise that this valuable resource is already under immense pressure. The SNP has taken its eye off the ball on this essential safeguard for patients, and any plans to enhance their role must be matched by enhanced resources.”

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