Consultation: Mental Health Units/Settings (Use of Force) Act 2018

The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a consultation on Mental Health Units/Settings (Use of Force) Act 2018 statutory guidance, to collate views and opinions on the statutory guidance to prevent the inappropriate use of force and ensure transparency and accountability about the use of force in mental health units/settings.

This would be really useful to share and forward to people within your networks, so is there anybody in your organisation or services that could help respond to this consultation? Everyone is being invited to respond to this consultation, especially from those who have lived experience of mental ill health or have been subjected to the use of force in a mental health unit/setting.

The Mental Health Units/Settings (Use of Force) Act became law in November 2018. The aim of the Act and the statutory guidance is to:

  • clearly set out the measures that are needed to prevent the inappropriate use of force
  • ensure accountability and transparency about the use of force

The use of force includes:

  • physical, mechanical, or chemical restraint of an individual
  • the isolation of an individual, including seclusion and segregation

Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and to be safe from harm, sometimes force is needed to stop people from hurting themselves or other people, however, sometimes force is used when it is not needed.

The use of force always comes with risk and can be a traumatic and upsetting experience for service users when they are at their most vulnerable and in need of safe and compassionate care. It can also be upsetting for those who witness it, such as other service users or visitors. For too long the use of force has been accepted as the norm in many mental health services. This must change. While there has been guidance in recent years that has aimed to reduce the reliance on the use of force, there are still too often reports of its misuse and abuse which reminds us there is still work to do.

The law aims to:

  • Prevent situations where force may need to be used
  • Reduce the use of force in mental health settings
  • Make sure force is only used when everything else has been tried
  • Make sure staff work in the right way with both children and adults
  • Stop people being treated unfairly because of who they are, their background, or their beliefs
  • Make staff explain why they have used force
  • Make sure everyone can see when force has been used and why it was needed

To read more about this consultation and to learn how to respond, click here!

If you would like to discuss the consultation, or about how we can collaborate, please let us know. To get in touch, either call 03305 552233 or email

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