Professionals dismiss Labour’s record on mental health services

Six out of 10 social care professionals believe the government’s
performance on improving mental health services has been poor,
reveals a Community Care survey.

The poll also finds that almost half believe that the latest draft
of the Mental Health Bill would have a negative impact on people’s
civil liberties. One-third say it will have a negative impact on
sectioning practices.

Last month a report by the parliamentary joint committee set up to
scrutinise the draft bill called for it to be overhauled, warning
that it would force too many people into compulsory

Responses to the government’s record on services for people with
learning difficulties are more positive, with 55 per cent
describing their performance on services in this area since they
came to power as either excellent, very good or good.

Almost half of respondents to the survey believe that people with
learning difficulties are leading more independent lives with
adequate support than they were in 1997.

On the protection of vulnerable adults, findings show that more
than half of professionals feel the government’s policies are poor
– despite the introduction last July of the Protection of
Vulnerable Adults List.

Community Care minister Stephen Ladyman dismissed calls last month
for obligatory criminal record checks for people employed by direct
payment recipients, saying this would undermine independence. But
campaigners argue that this stance could put users at risk.

Respondents’ views on disability discrimination are more positive,
with two-thirds believing Labour has done well in tackling the

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005, which received royal assent
this month, places a new duty on public bodies to promote equality
of opportunity for disabled people and extends protection to people
diagnosed with cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV.

  • Community Care surveyed 1,096 social care professionals on a
    range of election issues. The remaining results will be published
    in next week’s issue.

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