An independent review of homicides by people with severe mental illness has recommended introducing compulsory community
The review, by Professor Anthony Maden of Imperial College, London, gives valuable ammunition to the government in its plan to amend legislation in order to extend compulsory treatment.
Maden’s study says allowing compulsory community treatment for those with a serious mental illness and history of violence would move the debate away from difficult decisions over whether to admit people to hospital to one of safe management in the community.
As part of its plan to amend the Mental Health Act 1983, the government wants to allow com pulsory community treatment for those who have been detained in hospital previously.
But campaigners at the Mental Health Alliance said a right to assessment for services and improved care would be more effective.
And Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said: “The problem is not that people are refusing treatment, but that they are not being given treatment when they seek it.”
Maden, a professor of forensic psychiatry, said violence was “sometimes inevitable” and the government should offer support to staff as well as reassurance to the public.
Alongside the report, the Department of Health announced the launch of a risk management programme to improve professionals’ assessment methods. It will also review the care programme approach, which professionals use to review patient care.
Meanwhile, a follow-up report to last year’s Healthcare Commission audit of violence in mental health wards has found progress in improving ward environments and care.
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