‘Tabloids influenced Mental Health Bill’

The government was accused of basing its draft Mental Health
Bill on a “tabloid agenda”.

Campaigners at a seminar said the bill had been influenced by
stories about mentally ill people who had committed murder and this
had “swung the argument” away from the rights of mentally ill

Paul Farmer, chair of the Mental Health Alliance, called for a
tightening of the proposals that extend powers of compulsory

Lord Denis Carter, a member of the joint committee on the draft
Mental Health Bill, said the government had “no idea” of how many
more people would be compulsorily detained.

But health minister Rosie Winterton said the government had made
it clear that compulsory orders would be aimed at people who were
in and out of treatment services. Its estimate of numbers to be
treated under the draft bill’s proposals was based on people in
this category, she added.


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