SMHLR Position Statement

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Having taken the time to consider the final report of the Scottish Mental Health Law Review (SMHLR), SCLD has significant concerns about its failure to address the core issue of the ongoing inclusion of people with learning disabilities within Scottish mental health legislation. This is despite our concerns and alternatives being highlighted with the SMHLR team on numerous occasions and the existence of the recommendations of the Independent Review of Learning Disability and Autism in the Mental Health Act (IRMHA) which clearly stated that both learning disability and autism should be removed from the legislation.

Unfortunately, this is not a surprise and comes despite submissions made by SCLD and others that learning disability and autism should be removed from the legislation. These submissions detailed what we believed to be international best practice as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and in the recommendations of the IRHMA.

However, we became increasingly concerned as the SMHLR proceeded that the arguments of people with learning disabilities, autistic people and other stakeholders were not being heard. Indeed, we found it difficult at times to find opportunities to engage meaningfully in the SMHLR, despite our best efforts. These challenges to engagement were also experienced by People First (Scotland).

SCLD does not support the recommendations of the SMHLR with regard to people with learning disabilities. Furthermore, SCLD are fundamentally opposed to a number of key SMHLR recommendations, based on their apparent denial of the human rights of people with learning disabilities. Put simply, the review recommends the redefinition of the terms learning disability (and autism) whilst at the same time proposing their retention within the purview of mental health legislation. In our view, this merely serves the unjust and discriminatory status quo.

SCLD’s concerns are shared by People First (Scotland) and many others.

SCLD has prepared a detailed position statement regarding this situation which can be accessed here.

There is also an easy read summary of this position statement which can be accessed here.

People First (Scotland) have prepared a statement outlining the position of its members and directors and have given SCLD position to share this here.