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Comment on Government Response to Joint Committee’s report on the draft Mental Health Bill

25 March 2024

The former Chair of the Joint Committee on the draft Mental Health Bill has responded to the publication on Thursday 21 March 2024 of the Government response to the Joint Committee’s report.

Baroness Buscombe said:

“It is welcome that the Government has published its delayed response to recommendations made by our Joint Committee to strengthen legislation on long overdue mental health reform.

“We urged the Government to act swiftly to bring the draft Mental Health Bill before Parliament and to accept our call for stronger measures in some areas to bring about the changes needed. That was 14 months ago. We have since witnessed the absence of the Bill from the King’s Speech, compounding disappointment for those whose lives are bound up in some form with the Mental Health Act.

“I note the Minister’s intention to bring forward a Bill when Parliamentary time allows, however she cannot but be aware that the clock is ticking.”

Further information:

The Government published its draft Mental Health Bill on 27 June 2022. The draft Bill contained proposals to implement recommendations from Sir Simon Wessely’s 2018 Independent Review into Modernising the Mental Health Act.

The Joint Committee on the draft Mental Health Bill was appointed in July 2022 to scrutinise and report on the draft Bill.

The Joint Committee published its report on 18th January 2023. With the publication of its report, the Committee ceased to exist.

The Government’s response to the report was published on 21 March 2024.