Amendments to the Mental Health Act
Amendments to the Mental Health Act 2007
The Mental Health Act 2007 recently underwent a review and the Mental Health Amendment (Statutory Review) Act 2014 was passed by Parliament in November 2014. These changes come into effect from 31 August 2015.
The Ministry of Health has issued an Information Bulletin setting out the key changes. The Bulletin can be accessed from the NSW Health Website or by clinking on the following link: Mental Health Act Changes: Information Bulletin.
Relevant information and Forms have been updated on the Documents page of the Tribunal's website. Additional forms can be accessed from the Legistation page of the Minsitry of Health website: MHA Legislation and Forms.
Education & Training
• The NSW Institute of Psychiatry (10P) was contracted by the Ministry to provide an Education and Training on the Act amendments. This included:
o Development and provision of 1-2 hour information sessions to relevant NSW Health staff on the legislative changes over the next three months. Each LHD and Specialty Network is being offered up to two sessions. These sessions are currently being organised by the 10P.
o Development and provision of Fact Sheets for particular stakeholder groups. The fact sheets are now available on the Understanding the Mental Health Act 2007 site. The site also inlcuded Frequently Answered Questions and an updated version of the Mental Health Act 2007 Guidebook.
Primary carers, designated carers and principal care providers
• From 31 August 2015, primary carers will be known as designated carers. Any primary carer nominations that are current as at 31 August 15 will remain in force until they expire or are revoked, although they will be known from that date as designated carer nominations.
• Schedule 6 of the Mental Health Amendment (Statutory Review) Act 2014 addresses this issue:
"A person who was the nominated primary carer for a person immediately before the amendment of section 71 by the Mental Health Amendment (Statutory Review) Act 2014 is taken to be the designated carer of that person for the purposes of this Act [the Mental Health Act 2007] until the nomination is revoked or otherwise ceases to be in force under this Act."
• From 31 August 15, consumers will be able to nominate up to two designated carers, subject to certain restrictions (a consumer under Guardianship or who is under the age of 15 cannot nominate their designated carers — see s71(1)). The Ministry has requested that authorised medical officers and directors of community treatment should take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that consumers who are eligible and who already have a designated carer, are offered the opportunity to nominate an additional designated carer under s72.
• The Ministry of Health has also requested that authorised medical officers and directors of community treatment should make reasonable attempts to identify the principal care provider of a consumer from 31 August. Section 72A provides a definition of the principal care provider and identifies the relevant duties and functions of authorised medical officers and directors of community treatment.