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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-03039: Ross Thomson (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 22 September 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on reports that the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland is failing to act impartially, and what action it plans to take on this issue.

Answered by: Maureen Watt 30 September 2016

The Mental Health Tribunal Scotland is an independent organisation which reports to Scottish Ministers. The aim of the Tribunal is to provide a responsive, accessible, independent and impartial service when making decisions on the compulsory care and treatment of people with mental disorders.

The Tribunal consists of the President and around 300 members. There are three groups of members – legal, medical, and general. Each hearing will have a panel of three members which includes one person from each group. The legal members will chair the hearing. Medical members are psychiatrists. General members are people with a special interest in mental health including psychiatric nurses, social workers, psychologists, service users and carers. None of the panel should have had any previous connection with the patient/service user.

There is a right under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 to appeal to the Sheriff Principal (with a further appeal right to the Court of Session). It would be for the sheriff principal and then the Court of Session to review a decision made by the Tribunal. The Court may set aside the decision of the Tribunal and can also substitute its own decision.