headKUWAIT: In a major step towards improving psychiatric treatment, the cabinet recently passed a bill on psychiatric healthcare for psychiatric patients, which will be referred to the parliament for review and approval within a few days. According to the new law, no one is to be admitted to public or private psychiatric hospitals or clinics without diagnosis and recommendation from a psychiatrist made upon developing severe psychiatric disorder symptoms. The law also conditions consulting the public prosecution on such cases within 48 hours of admission.

The law only made two exceptions where a non-psychiatrist can admit a patient against his will, and conditioned an application should be made by a relative, investigator, social worker, psychoanalyst, consul at the expat patient's embassy, specialist or on a court order.

The law also mandates specialized psychiatric centers to keep records of information about all psychiatric patients. Upon a clearly detailed diagnosis, the law also entitles the psychiatrist in charge to prevent the patient's discharge for a maximum of 72 hours if (a) discharge would likely jeopardize his safety, mental, physical or psychological health or that of others and (b) if the patient is incapable of taking care of him/herself due to the disease's severity. The law also entitles psychiatrists to administer emergency medications in both cases. - Al-Anbaa