Campaigners target peers’ amendments

A coalition of nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists has called on MPs to overturn key changes made by peers to the Mental Health Bill.

A briefing ahead of this week’s second reading of the bill in the House of Commons suggested changes made by peers that require doctors to make decisions on detention would reintroduce “outmoded hierarchies” into mental health services.

The briefing, by Unison, the Mental Health Nurses Association and the British Psychological Society among others, said original proposals in the bill to extend the range of practitioners beyond psychiatrists who could take such decisions contained stringent safeguards.

And the organisations said their members have “a significantly higher level of interaction with service users resulting in stronger relationships than doctors are able to achieve”.

After being considered as a whole in its second reading, the bill will be debated by MPs in detail in a committee, which will also consider evidence from outside organisations.

The government has indicated that it intends to reverse all the changes made by peers, which included the introduction of greater safeguards in the use of compulsory community treatment and the requirement that compulsory treatment has some clinical benefit.

However, a public poll published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists this week found that 72 per cent of those surveyed did not believe people with mental health problems should be forced to have “treatment” from which they cannot benefit.

Related article
Suicides decline to lowest rate ever

Are you in favour of or against the amendments to the Mental Health Bill? What do you think should change? Tell us your views

Contact the author
  Simeon Brody


More from Community Care

Comments are closed.