Call for new role to be independent

The approved mental health professionals proposed in the draft
Mental Health Bill should have the same “measure of independence”
as approved social workers when implementing compulsory powers,
according to a mental health expert.

Speaking at a conference on the Mental Health Bill last week, Peter
Gilbert, senior adviser to the National Institute for Mental Health
in England and member of the Association of Directors of Social
Services mental health strategy group, said: “If we are handing
this responsibility over, then we have to ensure this measure of
independence is retained.”

Addressing the Harrogate Centre for Excellence in Health and Social
Care conference, Gilbert said ASWs acted as a “vital check and
balance” and used a holistic perspective, rather than a medical
model, that should not be lost when approving compulsory treatment.

Mike Shooter, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told
the conference that the strong opposition to the bill would prevent
the government going ahead with it.

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