Mental Health Bill needs extra safeguards, say MPs and lords

The joint parliamentary committee on human rights is demanding extra safeguards are built into the Mental Health Bill because it fears the bill’s provisions are so broad people without a mental disorder could be detained.
In a report released today, chair of the human rights committee, Labour MP for Hendon Andrew Dismore, said robust safeguards were needed when people were “forcibly treated against their will.”
MPs and peers say they are concerned about plans for social workers or nurses to be given the power to renew detention, arguing “objective medical advice” is required to deprive someone of their liberty. Under the current law only a doctor has the authority to renew a section.
The committee also believes the bill does not include effective safeguards over treatment without consent, such as electro-convulsive therapy, to patients detained under mental capacity legislation.

Dismore said: “Administrative convenience, broad brush definitions and costs savings should not come before ensuring that patients are only detained appropriately, and for no longer than is necessary.”

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