The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018 aims to improve oversight of the use of force against patients in mental health units.
The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018 received royal assent on Nov. 1, 2018. The act is also known as Seni's law after Olaseni Lewis, who was 23, and died in 2010 soon after being restrained by 11 police officers in Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham. An investigation into Lewis's death found the force used was excessive, disproportionate, and led to his death.
The act aims to improve transparency and responsibility. Hospitals will be required to publish data on how and when physical force is used and designate one person responsible for executing the entire policy. Police officers who attend mental health settings will have to wear body cameras. Staff working on the unit must be trained. Training should cover issues such as respect for diversity, the physical, mental, and developmental impact of power used.
The secretary of state is required to conduct an annual review of any reports published that year relating to patients' death due to force in a mental health unit by staff who work in that unit. The death of any patient in a mental health unit, as a result of the use of force by staff there, will be subject to a review process by the secretary of state, rather than an independent inquiry.