Welsh Charity looks to Scotland

Hafal is looking at how progress is being made in Scotland where they have their own Mental Health Act. Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of Hafal, is visiting National Schizophrenia Fellowship Scotland this week to find out first hand about the Mental Health Act (Scotland) 2003, which will come into force from April 2005.

The visit will include an informal meeting with members of the cross-party Mental Health Group at the Scottish Parliament and with patient groups.

Bill Walden-Jones says “it is valuable for us to find out what patients think about the new Scottish Mental Health Act.

We are especially interested to compare this Scottish legislation with the new England and Wales Bill which we expect imminently.

The last draft Bill for England and Wales produced in 2002 was widely condemned as unworkable, unjust and incompatible with Wales’ devolved mental health policy and services.

By contrast the Scottish Act has been cautiously welcomed because it has been based on a consensus about what suits Scotland’s particular circumstances. The Scottish Act makes a genuine attempt to offer some reciprocal rights to treatment and care to balance compulsory treatment.

Of course Wales cannot pass its own Mental Health Act like Scotland and Hafal is not commenting one way or the other on that. But the current arrangements in Wales do mean that the Westminster government needs to take notice of Wales’ needs for appropriate primary legislation.”

More information at NSF Scotland