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‘Antiquated’ mental health laws in England and Wales set for overhaul

Mental health bill aims to limit detentions of autistic people and those with learning disabilities

An overhaul of what Boris Johnson described as “antiquated” mental health laws will make it harder to detain people with learning disabilities and autistic people in hospital.

The reforms – which will be part of the Queen’s speech next week and are the first big changes to the Mental Health Act in four decades – are designed to reduce the number of people being detained under current laws in England and Wales. The number of detentions rose by 40% between 2005-06 and 2015-16 and have continued to rise year on year.

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