Applause for action on treatment orders

    Charities have given a cautious welcome to the restrictions on
    compulsory community treatment orders in changes to the draft
    mental health bill.

    The leaked changes to the draft bill, due to be scrutinised by MPs
    next month, would limit use of the orders for people who have been
    detained previously for in-patient psychiatric care. The
    individuals would have to be deemed a risk to themselves or
    others.

    Mental health groups had opposed the draft bill, published in 2002,
    on the grounds that those judged to be potentially dangerous, but
    who had committed no crimes, could have been compulsorily
    treated.

    Under the changes the orders would be issued on grounds of clinical
    appropriateness rather than treatability, which many psychiatrists
    argue may not be possible for people with severe personality
    disorder.

    Sophie Corlett, policy director at mental health charity Mind,
    said: “If the government does revise the draconian and
    counter-productive proposals for compulsory treatment contained in
    the draft bill that would be a significant victory.

    “The orders, as they are now formulated, are unworkable and would
    drive a wedge between professionals and service users.”

    Mental health charity Sane was also pleased with the proposals.
    Chief executive Marjorie Wallace said: “We are glad that the
    government appears to have taken note of the anxieties expressed
    over the concentration on public safety.”

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