Government accused of being aggressive

The government was accused of being “aggressive” in its
rejection of key recommendations on the draft mental health bill at
a Labour conference seminar today, writes Maria Ahmed
from Brighton.

Lord Dennis Carter, a member of the joint committee on the draft
mental health bill, made the comment on the government’s response
to the committee’s recommendations earlier this year.

The joint committee report had strongly condemned the
government’s plans including bringing wider use of compulsory
powers to allow more people to be forcibly treated.

Carter and other campaigners said the government’s response had
been “driven by tabloid headlines” on mentally ill people who
murdered, describing them as a “tipping point” for the government’s
emphasis on public safety in the bill.

Health minister Rosie Winterton told the seminar organised by
Mental Health Alliance that while the government had accepted some
of the committee’s recommendations, she disagreed that there was
too much emphasis on compulsion and protecting the public in the

She said the balance between protecting the public and
safeguarding the rights of mentally ill individuals was “about

Carter said he expected the bill to be introduced in parliament
by Christmas.

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