Independent report

Modernising the Mental Health Act – final report from the independent review

The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 has set out recommendations for government on how the Act and associated practice needs to change.



The final report sets out recommendations covering 4 principles that the review believes should underpin the reformed Act:

  • choice and autonomy – ensuring service users’ views and choices are respected
  • least restriction – ensuring the Act’s powers are used in the least restrictive way
  • therapeutic benefit – ensuring patients are supported to get better, so they can be discharged from the Act
  • people as individuals – ensuring patients are viewed and treated as rounded individuals

The review looked at:

  • rising rates of detention under the Act
  • the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained under the Act
  • processes that are out of step with a modern mental health care system

This page includes Easy Read and summary versions of the report plus an analysis of the survey data. The summary version also includes an illustrative guide to the review’s recommended changes.

Published 6 December 2018
Last updated 14 February 2019 + show all updates
  1. 'Modernising the Mental Health Act: increasing choice, reducing compulsion' has been updated: table 1 of Annex A has had an error corrected on the circumstances in which category 3 treatment can be given, annex B has been replaced with a corrected version, and a small number of typos have been corrected. 'Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983: supporting documents' has been added.

  2. Added summary version of the report.

  3. First published.