Mental Health Bill still needs revision, campaigners urge

Mental health campaigners have warned there is a long way to go
before the draft Mental Health Bill can be made
“workable”, writes Gordon Carson.

Although they say the government’s response to
a committee report scrutinising the bill offers “some
hope”, they are concerned that it aims to move forward with
plans to broaden powers of compulsion.

The government did announce today that, under the planned laws, it
would not subject people whose sole mental disorder is dependency
on alcohol or drugs to compulsory mental health treatment.

However, it said it “very firmly” disagreed with the
committee’s claim that the bill placed too much emphasis on
public safety.

Charity Mind said it had “grave concerns” that the
government was relying on a “we know best attitude” and
had rejected key evidence from the mental health sector.

It criticised the government’s insistence that the bill was
not about service provision, and its failure to recognise the need
for separate legislation for people with a mental disorder who pose
a public danger but cannot be treated.

The government accepted in full or in part more than half of 107
recommendations made by the committee. It is now redrafting the
bill to take account of changes it has decided to make in light of
the report.

Government response at




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