Department of Health
The Mental Health Care Amendment Bill was tabled in parliament last week.
The bill was published in the Government Gazette for public comment in July.
The proposed legislation aims to:
• repeal chapter 8 of the Mental Health Act 8 of 1973; and
• insert a clause into the Mental Health Care Act 17 of 2002 empowering the head of the national department of health to delegate certain responsibilities to others in the department’s employ or to withdraw delegated responsibilities.
Amongst other things, chapter 8 of the 1973 Metal Health Act sets out procedures for:
• the establishment and constitution of hospital boards;
• the remuneration of its members;
• the frequency and purpose of board visits to state mental institutions;
• the discharge of a patient from any such institution; and
• meetings and record keeping.
It is the only chapter of the statute not yet repealed by the 2002 Mental Health Care Act.
Inter alia, the 2002 act provides for the care, treatment and rehabilitation of persons who are mentally ill.
It also sets out the different procedures to be followed during the process of admitting mentally ill people to institutions.
The proposed delegation of powers is designed to improve the implementation of the act.
Involuntary health care users will be a particular focal point for enhanced implementation.
Sabinet Cape Town Office