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Nurses urged to offer their views in survey on mental health legislation and detention

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Mental health and learning disability nurses are being urged by unions to offer up their views on possible changes to legislation under the Mental Health Act.

A survey of nurses has been launched jointly today by two unions to inform their response to a review of the legislation.

“For the tens of thousands detained each year, it’s really important we support the review”

David Munday

The independent review of the legislation, which is being chaired by Royal Society of Medicine president Professor Sir Simon Wessely, was announced by the government last year.

It was launched in response to concerns about high detention rates under the act and the fact that black and minority ethnic patients were more likely to be detained than white patients.

The review is looking at whether any changes need to be made to the legislation, which was created in 1983 and is applied in England and Wales. It will also set out recommendations on how the act is used in practice.

A survey of nurses has been launched by Unite – which includes the Mental Health Nurses Association – and the Royal College of Nursing to inform the unions’ response to the review.

Mental health and learning disability nurses in England and Wales are being encouraged to take part by 25 February, when the survey closes.

“For the tens of thousands detained under the Mental Health Act in England and Wales each year, it’s really important that we support the independent review chaired by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, to ensure that its recommendations make as many improvements as possible to the care and support they receive,” said Dave Munday, Unite’s lead professional officer for mental health.

dave munday cropped

dave munday cropped

Dave Munday

“We’ve developed this survey, in addition to other work, in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing to make sure that the mental health nursing voice can be heard alongside the views of service users, carers and advocacy organisations,” he said.

“We’d encourage as many mental health nurses as possible to complete the survey and share with their colleagues,” he added.

An interim report identifying priorities for the review’s work is expected in the coming months and a final report containing recommendations will be published in autumn 2018.

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