Detained patients’ rights get backing

Mental health charity Mind has welcomed confirmation from judges
that the psychiatric treatment of detained patients can be
challenged under the Human Rights Act 1998.

The appeal court has indicated that forcible treatment that is
not therapeutically necessary could be “inhuman or degrading
treatment”, violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

The judges made their comments when deciding a preliminary issue
on a judicial review brought by a 67- year-old patient who was
injected with medications against his will.

They also confirmed that doctors giving a statutory second
opinion on compulsory treatment should offer an independent
judgement on the patient’s best interests rather than simply
approving the decision of the treating psychiatrist.

Principal solicitor at Mind, Simon Foster, welcomed the judges’
comments. “The appeal court has confirmed that psychiatrists must
respect the human rights of their patients, even when they are
detained under section.”

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