Compulsory treatment fears remain despite claims of ‘scaremongering’

The mental health tsar has accused critics of the Mental Health Bill of “scaremongering” over proposals for compulsory  treatment in the community.

Speaking at the bill’s launch last week, Louis Appleby said opponents of supervised community treatment were scaring patients into thinking they would come under compulsory powers.

He said: “When people criticise our proposals [and say] that more people will come under compulsion that’s scaremongering.

It’s frightening to patients and it shouldn’t happen.”

But Andy Bell, chair of the Mental Health Alliance, which represents 78 organisations, said concerns about the bill were genuine.

“There are real concerns among carers, professionals, and service users. All of those groups have said to us that it will increase the use of compulsory powers and the length of time that they are used for,” he said.

Fifty Labour backbenchers signed an early day motion backed by the alliance earlier this year which opposed key parts of the bill. Such a rebellion could force substantial concessions from the government if opposition parties also dissent.

New bill revives old plans
The bill revives a number of proposals included in muchcriticised draft legislation, dropped earlier this year. Plans include:

● Supervised community treatment.
● Replacing the treatability test with an appropriate treatment test allowing compulsory treatment without therapeutic benefit.
● Giving the health secretary powers to reduce the time (six months at present) before a patient’s case is referred to a mental health review tribunal.
● Proposals to close the Bournewood gap

For more information click Mental Health

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