Mental health bill will need amendments, peers warn

The mental health bill is set to face a barrage of amendments as it passes through the House of Lords, peers made clear at its second reading yesterday.

Peers from all parties and none criticised “deeply flawed” proposals that would need “substantial amendment”.

The legislation would increase the use of compulsion in the community, and allow for compulsory treatment without therapeutic benefit so long as it was “appropriate”.

During the debate, the Bishop of Manchester described the appropriate treatment criteria as “unacceptable vague”. He suggested introducing a number of conditions to raise the threshold of eligibility for compulsory treatment in the community.

And Labour peer Baroness Morgan of Drefelin suggested the lack of a statutory right to independent advocacy was “a missed opportunity that could easily be put right”.

Amendments can be tabled during the next stage of the bill’s progress, which will be a committee of the whole House of Lords, expected in the next few weeks.

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