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UAE government issues federal decree on mental health

He UAE Government has issued a Federal Law on mental health, aligning with the latest practices and advances in the mental health landscape, guaranteeing the rights of psychiatric patients and guaranteeing the provision of the best physical and mental care.

The law aims to regulate the relationship between psychiatric patients and each party treating them, as well as to provide necessary medical care in accordance with best standards and practices.

Furthermore, the new Federal Law aims to preserve the rights and dignity of the psychiatric patient and significantly reduce the negative effects of mental conditions on them, their families and society, as well as promoting their social integration.

The Law applies to all matters related to mental health, as well as to the psychiatric patient, mental health facilities and any other institutions in the country related to the psychiatric care of the patient, including those located in free zones. It also redefines mental health and the psychiatric patient in accordance with the latest practices and concepts in the field of mental health.

The new legislation prohibits the provision of mental health services without obtaining permission from the competent authority, in accordance with the provisions of the Law.

Under the law, a patient’s general rights include receiving a full explanation of their rights within the mental health facility, as well as their right to file complaints and grievances. Additionally, the patient must receive all necessary care and treatments in an appropriate environment that preserves his or her civil rights.

The Law preserves the patient’s right to retain his or her employment without restrictions and protects him or her from any emotional, physical or sexual exploitation. In addition, the Law guarantees the confidentiality of all patient information and the measures taken to safeguard it, as well as protects the patient’s personal belongings in the mental health care facility.

The law outlines the frameworks for patients’ mental and social care plan following their discharge from the facility; obtain health insurance according to current legislation; facilitate access to education and recreational activities; and elect representatives to advocate on their behalf both inside and outside of the mental health care facility.

The law guarantees patients’ access to psychotherapy and psychiatric medications in accordance with established medical principles. Clinical observations, treatment plans, goals and risks, including benefits and side effects, timeline, and recommended intervention in case of crisis or emergency, should be explained to the patient.

According to the new federal decree, minor psychiatric patients will benefit from special health guarantees taking into account their age and psychological condition. This includes the right to education; any procedure must be preceded by the preparation of a social worker or psychologist; as well as guaranteeing separate accommodation from adult places. Additionally, the law ensures the implementation of age-specific health safeguards that consider the age group of the minor patient and align with their best interests.

According to the law, a specific monitoring committee will be established in each emirate with the specific objective of safeguarding the rights of psychiatric patients; as well as a dedicated committee within each health center, to ensure the protection of patients’ rights.

Monitoring committees in each emirate will be responsible for following up on reports from mental health facilities on mandatory patient admissions; supervise mental health care facilities and verify their commitment to the implementation of the standards and procedures mentioned in the decree; It will also review reports from the emirate’s patients’ rights committee and address complaints, grievances and objections.

The patients’ rights committee of each emirate will be responsible for protecting the rights of psychiatric patients, receiving complaints from psychiatric patients and taking all necessary measures and actions to resolve them.

The new federal law defines the types of admission to a mental health care facility. It established a series of rules regarding voluntary admission for the purposes of substance or psychotropic substance treatment, the obligations of the mental health center in the event of the patient’s escape or her death within the center.

The new legislation defines cases of psychological restraint, isolation and transfer of the patient within and outside the country, as well as cases in which the patient is subject to mandatory outpatient treatment.

The Law imposes a range of sanctions on violators of its regulations and provisions, including imprisonment and a fine of not less than 50,000 dirhams and no more than 200,000 dirhams.

News source: Emirates News Agency

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