Demand for basic rights in draft bill


    R

    adical changes must be made to the draft Mental Health Bill if it
    is to deliver improvements in services, according to a
    charity.

     


    The Welsh organisation, Hafal, has submitted new evidence to MPs
    scrutinising the bill demanding inclusion of basic rights for
    service users and carers.

     


    Matthew Butcher, a Hafal trustee and former patient, said service
    users should “unquestionably have a right to early treatment
    to prevent their condition getting worse”.

     


    He added: “It cannot be right that, in the 21st century, the
    state seeks to deal with mental illness through compulsion without
    any compensating rights to treatment.”

     


    In evidence to the bill’s scrutiny committee last week,
    Phillip Sycamore, liaison judge for the Mental Health Review
    Tribunal, warned that staff shortages and administration problems
    would prevent the system coping with the proposed
    changes.

     


    Problems affecting the current system included a database that
    produced inaccurate information, he said.

     


    Under the draft bill, people who are detained for longer than 28
    days would be entitled to a tribunal hearing in which their care
    and treatment plan would be assessed. Tribunals are only held where
    a problem is raised about a client’s care.

     

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