People with mental health problems should have more influence over their care and treatment, especially at times of crisis, an expert has warned.

Colin McKay, chief executive, Mental Welfare Commission (MWC), said NHS staff should do more to alert those with mental health conditions that they can use so-called advance statements to set out how they wish to be cared for in an emergency.

He also warned that people with disabilities should also control their care, and not have decisions taken on their behalf.

Mr McKay was speaking as a report was launched which says more needs to be done to ensure the rights of people who need mental health care are not breached.

The report by the MWC and the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) says admirable work is already being done by 17 different organisations to protect human rights, including Health Improvement Scotland, the Care Inspectorate and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. But they are also working to identify areas where services are still letting patients down

It praises the Scottish Government's mental health strategy, which is due to be revised this year, and the existing law. But it says more work is needed.

Mr McKay said: “Scottish mental health legislation is widely admired, and reflects human rights principles, but we need to do more to ensure that people have greater influence over decisions about their care and treatment, especially at times of crisis.

“For example, Advance Statements give people with mental ill health the chance to set out how they would wish to be treated in a crisis, but they are not widely enough used. Health services can help this to change.

“We also need to pay more attention to the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which makes clear that wherever possible, people should receive support to make their own treatment choices, rather than decisions being taken for them by others.”

The report says more should be done to ensure patients get information about their rights before and during a health crisis.

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health said: “I am determined that our new mental health strategy addresses any gaps and opportunities that exist.

“The Scottish Government has recently announced an additional £100m funding for mental health over the next five years. Part of this will be used to promote rights in mental health services.”