Psychiatrist fires detention warning

A psychiatrist has raised fears about proposals in the Mental
Health Bill to detain people deemed untreatable, warning that in 90
per cent of cases his judgement as to whether someone was dangerous
would be wrong.

Tony Zigmund, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said that if
the bill became law he would have to detain about 5,000 people who
he believed might pose a risk but about whom he could not be

His comments came at a meeting of social care professionals and
ministers in the House of Lords last week to discuss the Mental
Health Bill a year after it was published.

The bill, which is expected to be included in the Queen’s speech in
November, has sparked controversy over its plans to compulsorily
detain people with untreatable mental illnesses, such as
personality disorders.

Chief executive of social care charity Turning Point Victor
Adebowale said the proposals would result in many more detentions.
These would have human rights implications and drain resources from
preventive work.

“It is a cartoon assumption that these people can be easily
identified and then locked away,” he said.

A government consultation on the bill received 2,000 responses.

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