Government overturns Mental Health Bill proposal to prevent under-18s being placed in adult psychiatric wards

    The government yesterday overturned an amendment made by peers to the mental health bill which would have prevented children under 18 being placed on adult psychiatric wards.

    But Health Minister Rosie Winterton told the committee of MPs scrutinising the bill that she would reconsider the issue and come back with new proposals once the bill enters its report stage, likely to be later this month.

    Charity Young Minds said all the committee members wanted to see children treated appropriately and said it was “hopeful” that Winterton would come back with positive proposals.

    Winterton told a Commons debate later in the day: “I want to ensure that we get the services right, and that any legislation that we introduce does not create a perverse incentive for children not to get treatment because a clinician feels that what he wants to do is unlawful. It is a delicate balance and, as I said, we are looking further into the position. We were all agreed in Committee along the lines that I have outlined—that we want to see the change happen, but we want to ensure that we get it right.”

    The amendment to the Mental Health Bill passed in the House of Lords in February aimed to prevent children under 18 from being placed on adult wards and ensure they are looked after by specially trained staff.

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