‘Tear up bill’ say doctors’ leaders

The draft Mental Health Bill should be torn up and rewritten,
according to the British Medical Association.

Giving evidence to the parliamentary committee scrutinising the
bill last week, chairman of the BMA ethics committee Dr Michael
Wilks said: “We believe that it is not possible to tinker with
these proposals to improve them. The government really does need to
start again by talking to professionals and other interested groups
about what kind of legislation is needed to help people suffering
from mental illness as well as protecting the community at

The BMA believed the proposed legislation is so complex even
lawyers have difficulty interpreting it, which is likely to lead to
misunderstanding by mental health professionals.

Meanwhile, committee member MP David Hinchliffe said that the
committee would recommend a greater number of checks before people
are sectioned within the bill, allaying fears about the replacement
of the approved social worker role with that of a mental health
practitioner, a role which can be carried out by health

“It is fundamentally wrong that people in the same agency should be
able to order a person to be sectioned,” he said.

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