The reports outline new analysis on advance statements and significantly impaired decision making ability.
The Mental Welfare Commission has published two reports for the Scottish Mental Health Law Review to consider as part of its current work (this link will take you away from our website).
The first of the two reports shows very low use of advance statements by people who are detained for treatment and who are visited by doctors appointed by the Mental Welfare Commission. An advance statement is written by a person when they are well, setting out the care and treatment they would prefer or would dislike should they become mentally unwell again in the future. While advanced statements were introduced in the 2003 Mental Health Act as important safeguards for individuals, the new analysis shows that only 6.6% of people being detained for treatment under the Act over a three and a half year period had written an advance statement. The report makes recommendations to improve uptake of advance statement.
The second report is a research paper, focusing on one of the criteria – significantly impaired decision making ability (SIDMA) – used when doctors consider that a person requires compulsory treatment. SIDMA is a concept unique to Scots Law, introduced in the 2003 Act as part of efforts to reduce discrimination and incorporate greater respect for patient autonomy. The new report finds poor practice in recording and describing the presence of SIDMA in almost every one of 100 compulsory treatment forms examined. While it is not a legal requirement to record this detail, the Mental Welfare Commission believes it is important to do so in practice.