Social workers’ role in assessments of whether to detain patients
suffering from mental health problems will not be watered down
under the draft mental health bill, a department of health official
told delegates at the Community Care Live conference,
writes Katie Leason.
Adrian Sieff, head of mental health legislation at the doh, said
he “expected the majority of approved mental health
professionals (AMHPs) to be social workers, allaying fears they
would lose their influence.
However, he added that enabling other workers to be able to also
take on the AMHP role would help relieve resource and workforce
Sieff defended the proposed legislation and pleaded with
delegates to “put on different glasses, take a different
perspective and look at things differently”. But he later
admitted that the bill was being “refined” in light of
the consultation responses.
He conceded that many of the concerns surrounding the bill were
Meanwhile, Robert McLean, chairperson of the approved social
worker interest group, claimed that three quarters of the responses
to the government’s consultation on the bill thought the role
of the ASW should remain and that the proposed legislation was
Later, Paul Farmer, chair of the Mental Health Alliance, said
that the bill was “too important to be kicked around as a
political football”, adding that compulsion should always be
seen as the last resort.