The government has underestimated the number of people likely to be
subject to compulsory community treatment if the draft Mental
Health Bill becomes law, researchers have found.
The study by the King’s Fund estimates that 7,800 to 13,000 people
could be subject to the planned community-based treatment orders in
England and Wales within 15 years.
It concludes that the new powers will not open the floodgates to
compulsion, but says the government’s assumption that about 1,450
people will be placed on the new orders in the first few years
after they are introduced is too low.
Paul Farmer, chairman of the Mental Health Alliance, which is
campaigning against the bill, said compulsory community treatment
could “only be safely introduced under very narrow conditions for a
very small group of people with strict limitations”.
Meanwhile, a study published in medical journal the Cochrane
Database of Systematic Reviews claims that compulsory treatment may
not be an effective alternative to standard care.