Mind warns against policy driven by headlines
Posted Wednesday 23 March 2005
Parliamentary report concludes that innocent people will be penalised by draft Bill
Mental health charity Mind today strongly welcomed the publication of the pre-legislative scrutiny (PLS) report by the parliamentary Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill.
Sophie Corlett, Policy Director of Mind said,
"Doctors, psychiatrists and nurses still oppose this Bill. Mental health charities and mental health experts still oppose this Bill. And most importantly, people with mental health problems themselves still oppose this Bill. Now, having heard all the available evidence, a parliamentary committee has concluded that this Bill risks forcing innocent people into unnecessary and restrictive treatment.
Rather than legislation aimed more at newspaper headlines and public perception than improving services, the government would be well advised to listen to some of today's stark warnings. Neither should it underestimate the level of fear among ordinary people with mental health problems who are genuinely worried that they could be forced into treatment that they neither need nor want."
While welcoming the Committee's conclusions regarding Compulsory Treatment Orders (CTOs), as a step in the right direction, Mind emphasised its ongoing opposition to any form of compulsory treatment in the community.
Ms Corlett said,
"Compulsory treatment in the community is utterly unacceptable. It drives a wedge of mistrust between patients and medical professionals and introduces coercion into what should be a purely therapeutic relationship."
Mind is a founding member of the Mental Health Alliance representing over 60 organisations united in their opposition to the proposed draft Bill published in September.