‘Tear up bill’ say doctors’ leaders

    The draft Mental Health Bill should be torn up and rewritten,
    according to the British Medical Association.

    Giving evidence to the parliamentary committee scrutinising the
    bill last week, chairman of the BMA ethics committee Dr Michael
    Wilks said: “We believe that it is not possible to tinker with
    these proposals to improve them. The government really does need to
    start again by talking to professionals and other interested groups
    about what kind of legislation is needed to help people suffering
    from mental illness as well as protecting the community at
    large.”

    The BMA believed the proposed legislation is so complex even
    lawyers have difficulty interpreting it, which is likely to lead to
    misunderstanding by mental health professionals.

    Meanwhile, committee member MP David Hinchliffe said that the
    committee would recommend a greater number of checks before people
    are sectioned within the bill, allaying fears about the replacement
    of the approved social worker role with that of a mental health
    practitioner, a role which can be carried out by health
    professionals.

    “It is fundamentally wrong that people in the same agency should be
    able to order a person to be sectioned,” he said.

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