Support and guidance for NHS Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities on all legal aspects of mental health.
Mental health is a highly technical and complex field of law, with a number of sensitive and controversial areas where decisions made by health professionals can attract public scrutiny.
The law is still governed by the ageing Mental Health Act of 1983, but the introduction of the Human Rights Act has raised issues of incompatibility. Further important legal developments have occurred in cases such as HL v UK (the Bournewood case), which went to the European Court of Human Rights.
More recently the Mental Capacity Act 2005 has come into force, and with the 2006 Mental Health Bill still before parliament, there is continuing debate over how to improve and update the law on mental health issues. All these developments make it essential for NHS bodies to receive specialist legal advice from experienced professionals.
Weightmans' Mental Health team has considerable expertise in dealing with the most common and critical issues affecting NHS Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities. Our specialist lawyers provide a wide range of advice, support and guidance in an ever-changing legal landscape.
Typical of the cases we become involved in are decisions to detain, issues concerning treatment for both physical and mental health, surgical treatment of patients who lack capacity to consent, and children refusing to eat.
We understand the practical implications of the advice we provide, and the overriding importance of ensuring that patients receive effective treatment and continuity of care. Our 24-hour helpline ensures access to experienced lawyers on any problem that arises during or outside normal working hours.
As part of our all-inclusive service, we present regular seminars on topics such as the Bournewood case and the recent enactment of the Mental Capacity Provisions. We also deliver training programmes to ensure key personnel and front line staff are trained to operate safely and legally in this new and challenging environment.