New laws to help elderly islanders and those suffering with mental illness

The new law should better protect the elderly Credit: PA images

Elderly islanders and those suffering with mental illness are set to be better protected, under new laws in Jersey.

Two new pieces of draft legislation have been lodged, updating the current laws which date back to 1969.

Health officials say they will enable people to plan for a time when their mental capacity may become impaired.

According to the Health Department, the new Mental Health Law will provide enhanced powers for Courts to dispose of criminal cases involving people who are mentally disordered, replacing existing legislation and addressing a lack of provision for such situations.

The new Mental Health Law will also:

  • Reflect principles of modern mental health care and developments in treatment

  • Where appropriate, it will support the treatment of people in the community rather than in a hospital setting

  • Better protect the human rights of people detained under the Law, ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place

  • Provide a legal framework for people to access independent Mental Health Advocates, who can assist those who are subject to the law in understanding their rights and provide representation for them where appropriate

  • Help to ensure that higher standards of care and better decision-making surrounding the treatment of those suffering from a mental disorder are achieved through legislative and code of practice guidance

Meanwhile, the Capacity and Self-Determination Law introduces a number of provisions to enable people to plan for a time when they may lose the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The Health Department says individuals who have capacity will be able to make Lasting Powers of Attorney, enabling their health, welfare, property and financial affairs to be determined in accordance with their wishes, and will enable people to make advance decisions about the refusal of types of care and treatment.