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The Mental Health Act 1959

The Mental Health Act 1959 provided the legislative framework to implement the Percy Commission's recommendations from 1957.

The Act removed the distinction between psychiatric and other hospitals, ensuring that 'mentally ill' patients could benefit from general health and social service facilities, as well as encouraging equality between mental and physical health.

Under section 6 of the Act, local authorities were required to provide aftercare to people with 'a mental disorder' (who did not require inpatient care) by:

  • providing and maintaining residential homes for people's care
  • providing and maintaining centres for training
  • providing ancillary or supplementary support services.

House of Commons.
Mental Health Act, 1959.
leglisation.gov.uk; 1959.