Mental health professionals will be driven out of the field because
they will be forced to section more people under proposals in the
draft Mental Health Bill, a former president of the Royal College
of Psychiatrists has warned.
Mike Shooter told MPs last week that there were “severe worries
that mental health will be dominated by compulsory care and
psychiatrists would spend more time sectioning people”.
Measures included in the bill would “erode irrevocably” the
relationship between service users and professionals such as social
workers and community psychiatric nurses, Shooter said.
Under the bill, which is subject to pre-legislative scrutiny until
March, community treatment orders (CTOs) would be introduced as an
alternative to detention in hospital for so-called revolving door
But there are fears that the definition for their use is too broad
and people who should be sectioned in hospital will be placed on a
non-residential order and could end up being on medication
Shooter said CTOs could actually be more restrictive than hospital
treatment because of the conditions that could be placed on people
At an earlier meeting of the pre-legislative scrutiny committee,
Guy Davis, mental health act manger at Eastland and Inner City
Mental Health Trust, warned that people subject to compulsory
treatment within the community could end up “under some form of
He said: “Certainly, most people would prefer to be treated in
their own home rather than hospital. But I am not sure whether
people would be happy with the concept that they were detained in
their own home”.
Chief executive of the Institute of Mental Health Act Practitioners
Yens Marsen-Luther added that a shortage of hospital beds could
lead to clinicians sending someone home because they had a home to
go to but on the condition they were not allowed to go out.
He added that such a move would place a burden on carers, who would
have to take responsibility for ensuring the conditions of a
community order were not broken.