Several amendments to the Mental Health Bill were submitted Tuesday in a bid to ensure that mental health patients and other individuals are protected from exploitation and different forms of legal abuse. Earlier, the Parliament approved the bill in its first reading, giving MPs more time for another round of revision.
MP Faisal Al-Kandari said many items in this governmental bill must be amended before the second reading. He proposed prohibiting referral of any individual for mental healthcare without the consent of a first degree relative and it should be done in accordance with an official medical report and recommendation. He added a detective at the General Criminal Investigation Department should not refer any individual for mental healthcare without the approval of the head of the department or an officer in charge of approvals.
Additionally, no mental health medication or treatment should be administered without informing the patient or a first degree relative. Al-Kandari stressed the importance of this provision because the patient or a family member must know every detail of the medication or treatment. He pointed out this will also prevent legal complications in case a patient rejects the medication or treatment despite the approval of the first degree relative.
Other proposals include mandating doctors to review the medication or treatment prescribed for every patient at least once a month, while anyone who deliberately refers a normal person for mental health confinement will be imprisoned for a minimum period of one year to five years maximum and fined KD 5,000 minimum to KD 10,000 maximum.
Meanwhile, MP Abdullah Fahaad disclosed that based on what he heard during the Environmental Affairs Committee meeting, the sewage system in Sabah Al-Ahmed City is an environmental crisis waiting to happen. He claims the government can neither protect lives nor deal with the issue as it has been paralyzed by ministers. He said a temporary solution in the form of a tender worth KD 6 million was presented during the meeting, but it has yet to be fl oated – a procedure which might take more than 10 months to complete