Experts rail against tribunal proposals

Experts have dealt another blow to plans to reform the Mental
Health Review Tribunal.

Members of the Tribunal Project Group, set up to examine proposals
in the draft Mental Health Bill, have told ministers they cannot
say whether the system would work.

The group includes representatives from the Department of Health
bill team, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Mental Health
Review Tribunal Secretariat.

In a statement, the experts say the system will either not function
as required by the legislation or will only work with long delays,
causing disproportionate expense. They state: “We recommend that no
act be brought in into force until the government can demonstrate
that sufficient resources are availableÉ to allow for the
proposed extensions in hearing numbers and remit.”

Community Care has already exposed problems within the
MHRT as well as plans to introduce paper-based and fast-track

Meanwhile, in response to last week’s readers’ question, more than
eight out of 10 visitors to Community Care’s website feel
that a paper-based mental health tribunal, which would make
decisions only through written communication rather than by a
multi-disciplinary panel, would be “catastrophic” for psychiatric

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