Charity’s softer line on treatment orders

The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health has indicated it has an
open mind on the idea of community treatment orders proposed in the
draft Mental Health Bill.

The organisation’s acting chief executive, Angela Greatley, told
MPs examining the bill that if the definition and conditions for
the orders were “sufficiently tight”, they should be explored
further, particularly if advance directives were included.

She told MPs: “If people have the opportunity to say when they are
well what they would accept when they are unwell, that would be a
powerful way to deal with this. The use of an agreed treatment
order in the community is preferable to any sort of imposed

Some experts claim the orders could lead to people with mental
health problems in effect being placed under house arrest (news,
page 6, 11 November).

In written evidence to the MPs, the charity also warned about the
consequences of the loss of the approved social worker role.

Greatley said ASWs could offer “support to one another in making
decisions and maintaining a different perspective to that of health
professionals. This is an important safeguard”.

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