The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Scotland Act 2003, was passed by the Scottish Parliament in March 2003 and came in to effect April 2005. This Act covers your rights and the safeguards to protect them if, for example you were hospitalised or given treatment you do not agree with. EARS provides independent advocacy to older people, who find themselves subjected to treatment, etc., under the Act. Within the Mental Health (C&T) (S) Act provisions were created which didn’t previously exist, e.g.:
The Act sets out clearly the legal right of the individual to access independent advocacy services – these should always be offered before any Mental Health Tribunal hearing. Independent advocacy services can also assist in an individual electing a ‘Named Person’ or making an ‘Advanced Statement’ – see below. Independent advocacy can also help individuals to raise any concerns or thoughts they might have when initially taken into hospital, including supporting them to appeal their detention.
The Mental Health Tribunal
This replaces the Sheriff Court for hearing cases. Tribunal panels consist of 3 persons: a legally qualified person, a doctor with experience of mental health and a third lay person with skills and experience – this could perhaps be a service user or carer. People can be supported by an independent advocate to prepare for and attend a Tribunal.
The Named Person has the same right as the service user to be notified of, attend and be represented at Tribunal hearings. A named person can be elected by the service user.
An Advanced Statement sets out how a person wishes to be treated should they become unwell and unable to express their views in the future. The Tribunal or any person giving treatment should take account of the Advanced Statement.
EARS provides independent mental health advocacy to older people in Mid, East and West Lothian who subject to the Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.