Mind welcomes Health Bill amendment which protects vital aftercare for people who have been sectioned
Posted Thursday 1 March 2012
We welcome the news that the House of Lords has passed an amendment to Clause 39 of the Health and Social Care Bill.
The amendment will ensure that people returning to the community after a stay in psychiatric hospital receive the support from health and social care services they need.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, said:
We warmly welcome the acceptance of this amendment, a decision which will help to ensure that people being discharged from hospital will continue to receive the vital support they need to rebuild their lives and stay well.
Clause 39 would have removed a vital duty that requires the NHS and local authorities work together to provide both health and social care for people leaving psychiatric hospital.
Without this duty, there would have been every possibility that people would have received only partial care, or none at all, at a time when they most need support.
People who are leaving hospital after being detained under the Mental Health Act are often not in a position to fight for the help they need, and this amendment will ensure that they don’t have to.
Clause 39 of the Health and Social Care Bill addresses s117 of the Mental Health Act 1983, which deals with the aftercare that patients who have been detained under the Mental Health Act are entitled to when they leave hospital.
Section 117 places a joint duty on primary care trusts (PCTs) and local authorities to ensure that the patient gets the aftercare they need, with the two bodies being required to coordinate provision and funding.
The services made available to the individual must be free of charge, and cannot be withdrawn until both the PCT and local authority are satisfied that they are no longer needed.
Clause 39 would have also severed the joint duty on health and social care services, allowing each to act independently without consulting or informing the other. It would also have lead to disputes over who funds aftercare, with the possibility of patients having to pay to receive support.
Lord Kamlesh Patel, with support from Mind, along with Rethink Mental Illness, The Mental Health Foundation, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Centre for Mental Health, put forward the amendment to Clause 39 which will ensure health and social care services continue to be subject to a joint responsibility to provide free aftercare.
Notes to editors
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