The Department of Health and Social Care is launching a consultation on proposed changes to the Mental Health Act.
Dean Russell MP asked the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock what steps are being taken to change the way those with Autism and Learning Disabilities are treated within the law.
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Dean Russell: I thank my right hon. Friend and the Lord Chancellor for this landmark announcement. I am a member of both the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Health and Social Care Committee, and we have covered the serious impact of the Mental Health Act in detail, particularly on people with learning disabilities and autism, and especially over the past year. Can my right hon. Friend set out what steps he is taking to change the way that people with learning disabilities and autism are treated within law?
Matt Hancock: My hon. Friend has done so much, alongside other members of the Select Committee and more broadly, on this piece of work to ensure that the law treats people with learning disabilities and autism separately from how it treats people with mental ill health, and as appropriately as possible for both. This has been the big development on top of the Wessely report, which is in the White Paper, and it builds on the learnings we have had over the last couple of years, when the focus on this subject has become yet more acute, and rightly so. It is about the need to ensure that people get the appropriate provision, in the community if at all possible, and, critically, the need to ensure that the legislative underpinning supports that and does not wrongly use mental health legislation when that is not the appropriate legislation. I am really glad that we have been able to build that on top of the Wessely report and that it has had such a warm welcome. Now we have to get the details right, and I look forward to working with my hon. Friend, who has done so much work on this, and others to ensure that the details of how this is framed in legislation are got right.