Plans for the compulsory treatment in the community of people
with mental health problems have been confirmed by the government,
writes David Brown.
Compulsory treatment orders would cover an estimated 26,000
people a year under proposals unveiled in the draft mental health
A small number of patients with dangerous personality disorders
could be detained in secure accommodation indefinitely even if they
are considered untreatable.
The role of approved social workers in referring clients for
assessment will be replaced by a new role of approved mental health
professionals, which will include mental health nurses,
psychologists and occupational therapists.
Home office minister Hilary Benn said “Our aim is to improve
protection for both patients and the public. We want to ensure that
everyone who needs treatment either for their own safety or the
protection of others, will be able to receive it.”
A mental health order act will set out the conditions with which
a patient must comply. These will include allowing access by mental
health staff, attending a day centre or taking medication. The
order will also set out the care team’s powers if the patient fails
Patients cannot be forcibly medicated in their homes, but if
they refuse treatment they can be transferred to a clinical
All compulsory treatment orders over 28 days in length will have
to be authorised by a new mental health tribunal.
Other measures include:
– a new independent advocacy service to assist patients
– new rights for victims of acts committed by people with a
mental illness to be able to make representations before the person
– additional assertive outreach teams and crisis intervention
teams created to ensure that people in the community comply with
the compulsory treatment orders
For a full copy of the draft bill click