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(NHS Scotland) Independent review of Learning Disability and Autism in the Mental Health Act

01 October 2019

This review is about a law called the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and is looking at whether this law needs to change for people with learning disability and / or autistic people and focusses on how well the law supports people’s human rights.

This review is independent which means that no group of people can decide how the review will happen or what it will say, except the independent people who run the review.

The review will finish in December 2019.

The review’s remit

The Scottish Government has said:

“The review will need to gather evidence from a wide range of sources and engage widely with those who have an interest, whether that interest is personal or professional and reflect this evidence in its final analysis and recommendations.

The objectives of the evidence-gathering and analysis will focus on:

  • The operation of the 2003 Act – are people with autism and learning disability well served?
  • Increasing the role of psychologists in relation to the 2003 Act [we are looking at the role of psychology in the 2003 Act]
  • The definition of mental disorder under the 2003 Act in relation to learning disabilities and autism
  • The criminal justice system and the interaction with the Act 
  • The use of psychotropic medication (current prescribing practices)”

The BPS’s role

We have been engaging with the review to advocate for the introduction of Approved / Responsible clinicians in Scotland, as has previously been achieved in England and Wales.

The consultation document specifically addresses these proposals, but the Review is suggesting against implementing these roles on the basis that there is not enough published evidence that this would benefit people with learning disabilities or autism.

This is an excellent opportunity for the BPS to highlight this and engage with the review.

Getting Involved

Send your comments to [email protected] using the response form.

The deadline for responses is the end of play on Thursday the 17th of October.

Please note:

  • The society will only produce ONE response to any consultation.
  • Any response that goes under the society logo MUST be signed off by the relevant Board Chair and Branch Chair in the case of Devolved Nations.
  • Responses on behalf of particular Divisions / Faculties / Member Networks are not permitted under any circumstances.
  • Please do refer to the British Psychological Society Consultation Processes document which is attached before writing and sending any comments
  • Please ensure that all comments are based on Published Evidence and not solely on clinical opinion


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