Detention risk in Mental Health Bill

    People with learning difficulties could have their civil rights
    infringed unless the definition of mental disorder within the draft
    Mental Health Bill is narrowed.

    Conservative MP Angela Browning warned health minister Rosie
    Winterton that the bill’s definition was too broad and risked
    covering people with learning difficulties and autism.

    Browning told MPs scrutinising the bill that people with learning
    difficulties such as HL in the Bournewood case might be defined as
    having a mental disorder, making them eligible for lawful
    detention.

    Last October, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that HL, who
    has autism, was detained unlawfully at Bournewood Hospital, Surrey,
    for five months because he could not discharge himself.

    But Winterton said: “It is not our intention to show that people
    with learning disabilities would be brought under the Mental Health
    Act.”
    Meanwhile, the joint parliamentary committee on human rights has
    repeated its calls for the government to amend the Mental Capacity
    Bill to accommodate the Bournewood judgement.

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