The draft Mental Health Bill could threaten people’s human rights,
the parliamentary joint committee on human rights warned this
In its report on the draft bill, the committee refers to a number
of matters that still cause “some concern on human rights
It describes the proposed definition of mental disorder as
“over-inclusive”, and of covering conditions that would not
normally be characterised as mental disorders, including learning
disorders. It could also include illnesses that affect organs other
than the brain but that interfere with mental functioning, such as
a hyperglycaemic attack that interfered with brain function.
The committee concludes that the definition goes “much further than
necessary to ensure that dangerous people can be removed from
situations in which they put themselves or others at risk”, and
recommends that it is reviewed.
“In our view it would unduly interfere with the right of people
suffering from disorders which do not normally affect mental
function to control the kinds of treatment which they accept,” the
The committee recommends that, when the bill is introduced to
parliament, the government should make publicly available an
“account of risk factors” to be used in assessing whether to detain
people with severe personality disorders.
In addition it warns that, without an independent specialist
commission, mental health patients may not be sufficiently