Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act - implications for mental health services

The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions (MTPD) Act came into effect on 12 March 2018. The MTPD Act is part of a broader shift towards empowering and supporting people to make their own treatment decisions. It establishes a single framework for medical treatment decision making for people without decision making capacity that ensures that people receive medical treatment that is consistent with their preferences and values.

All health treatments require consent. The Mental Health Act 2014 regulates consent to treatments for compulsory patients. The MTPD Act regulates consent to health (including mental health) treatments for people who lack the capacity to consent to a treatment but are not compulsory patients. The concepts underpinning the Act are not new. All that changes is that procedures in earlier acts are made consistent.

Clinicians are encouraged to make more regular and detailed assessments of people's capacity to consent to treatments. Voluntary consumers who have the capacity to decide can agree to a treatment or refuse it. Those who do not have capacity now have alternative consent pathways available to them.

Consumers can consent to, or refuse, treatments in an MTPD Act advance care directive. These directives differ from advance statements which concern treatments applied on a compulsory basis. For those who lack capacity, consent can also be provided by medical treatment decision makers.

Consent to ECT made via an MTPD advance care directive, or provided by a medical treatment decision maker, must be ratified by the Mental Health Tribunal. The Tribunal will visit private hospitals for hearings if required.

Please refer below for further information and supporting tools.

Click here for general information about the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016.