Guernsey approves changes to mental health laws

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The States of Guernsey has approved changes to the island's mental health laws, which were last updated in 1939.

Health and Social Services Minister Hunter Adam said the changes would improve the situation for those undergoing treatment.

He said it should ensure those with mental health problems received the most appropriate treatment in future.

The States agreed to the update in November 2002, but it has taken until now to draft the legislation.

Deputy Marc Laine, a supporter of the move to update the laws, said: "We're getting rid of a deficient law. Under the the 1939 law there is no right to appeal against sectioning or treatment.

"Currently, and for months to come, the system has the power to forcibly take you or your loved ones from your home lock you up indefinitely, forcibly administer drugs, perform for instance a frontal lobotomy or electro-convulsive therapy on you and you have no way to appeal against it or stop the procedure."

The laws will have to be ratified by the Privy Council before they come into force.

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