Another Queen’s Speech, another plethora of initiatives from our
“on a mission to reform” New Labour government. But the big
surprise from her majesty was the omission of the Mental Health
Bill which was good news for all those who thought it was something
of a dog’s dinner. Yet Alan Milburn has made it clear that his
department is determined to press ahead with a bill anyway.
Health minister Jacqui Smith had a taste of the vehemence of the
opposition to the government’s draconian plans when she was heckled
at the Mind conference in Cardiff. Let’s hope she and her
colleagues got the message and go back to the drawing board.
It would be particularly welcome to see a section in the bill on
children’s mental health. Apparently this fell off the agenda the
first time. Alan Milburn has promised an extra £140m over
three years for child and adolescent mental health. It would be
good to know how he plans to spend it.