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

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

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

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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