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Implementation of the Mental Health Act 2007
Harvey I (2010) Implementation of the Mental Health Act 2007. Nursing Standard. 24, 51, 42-45. Date of acceptance: May 4 2010.

Summary
This article aims to contribute to an understanding of the Mental Health Act 2007, which came into force in November 2008. The article explains the link between the Mental Health Act, the Mental Health Act Code of Practice and mental health case law. It describes the guiding principles outlined in the Code of Practice, identifies the nine major changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 and discusses the role of the nurse in the care and treatment of people subject to the Mental Health Act 2007.

1986, as amended by the Mental Health (Amendment) (North Ireland) Order 2004. The mental capacity of individuals must be assessed to determine if the deprivation of liberty of the mentally incapacitated person could apply when considering compulsion under the Mental Health Act 1983 (Department for Constitutional Affairs 2007).

Author
Ian Harvey, mental health act trainer, Cumbria Partnership Trust, Carleton Clinic, Carlisle. Email: ian.harvey@cumbria.nhs.uk

Guiding principles
It is important to understand what influences the legal framework of mental health and how this affects the care and treatment of individuals. The Mental Health Act is the law. Case law develops as a result of challenges to the interpretation of that law. The Mental Health Act Code of Practice provides guidance on how practitioners should undertake duties under the Mental Health Act. The guiding principles are based on evidence-based practice and value-based approaches linked to ethical considerations and individual rights. The guiding principles include purpose, least restrictive alternative, respect, participation, and effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Purpose When considering compulsion, decision makers should try to minimise any harm to the individual and other people as a result of bringing that person into compulsion. Due regard must be given to physical as well as mental wellbeing. Least restrictive alternative Decision makers should ensure that restrictions to liberty are proportionate to the risk posed, and only restrict where there is evidence of need to do so. Respect An individual’s needs should be considered, including race, religion, culture, gender, age and sexual orientation. No person should be unlawfully discriminated against. Participation Practically, this means patients should be involved in care planning and decisions about their care and, where appropriate, carers and family members should be involved. Effectiveness, efficiency and equity The emphasis for practitioners is meeting individual needs, but this is tempered with the need to deploy resources efficiently using evidence-based treatments. NURSING STANDARD

Keywords
Legislation, mental health, Mental Health Act 2007 These keywords are based on subject headings, from the British Nursing Index. All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software. For author and research article guidelines visit the Nursing Standard home page at www.nursing-standard.co.uk. For related articles visit our online archive and search using the keywords. MOST OF THE CHANGES to mental health law that are described in this article were implemented in November 2008. Where implementation dates differ they will be stated. Users of the Mental Health Act 2007 will be pleased to know that where at all possible section numbers in the act remain unchanged and in the main, new material is added as a subsection of the numbers identified in the 1983 act. Strictly speaking the legislation referred to is the Mental Health Act 1983 as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007 and is referred to here as the new Mental Health Act. This legislation covers England and Wales. There is delegated legislation for Scotland, but the care and...
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