New Zealand Law Society - New Covid-19 response Act amends Mental Health Act

New Covid-19 response Act amends Mental Health Act

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The COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020 has passed its third reading in Parliament.

The minister in charge of the bill, Chris Hipkins, says it introduces amendments that will enable businesses, local government and others to manage and mitigate the impacts of the response to COVID-19, and to make minor changes to mitigate issues relating to the disease.

The Act amends the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, with a new section 6A to allow judges and practitioners to carry out clinical assessments, examinations, and reviews of patients by Audio Visual Link (AVL) rather than in person. In addition, section 3A (schedule 1) clarifies that Mental Health Review Tribunal reviews can be conducted using remote technology.

The purpose of these changes is to facilitate timely assessments of patients and to ensure the effective functioning of the Family Court throughout this emergency. These temporary COVID-19 response provisions will be repealed on 31 October 2021 or a date set by the Governor-General by Order in Council.

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