Alliance welcomes MPs call for review of Community Treatment Orders

14 August 2013

The Mental Health Alliance today welcomed the Health Select Committee's post-legislative scrutiny report on the Mental Health Act 2007. Alliance chair Alison Cobb said: "When a person is detained under the Mental Health Act, they are at their most unwell and every possible care must be taken to ensure that it is done in the right way.

"We particularly back the committee's call for a review of Community Treatment Orders (CTOs). The Alliance expressed serious concerns about the criteria for CTOs when they were first proposed and has since raised serious concerns that they are being used far more frequently that originally intended, meaning more and more people are being treated coercively in the community. They should not be used routinely as a way of discharging people from hospital. The Department of Health needs to understand why CTOs are being used so often and to investigate whether in fact they are having a beneficial effect on people's lives and recovery.

"We welcome the Committee's recognition of the need to improve the use of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). The links between mental health and mental capacity legislation are still poorly understood in many places. Improved understanding of how to use the Mental Capacity Act is vital to ensure people's human rights are being upheld at all times.

"We also welcome the Committee's call for improvements in the availability of independent advocacy and in the implementation of Section 136. We agree with the Committee that the way the Mental Health Act is administered is fundamental to achieving 'parity of esteem' between physical and mental health. Without investment in the best possible mental health care at a time of crisis, parity will remain a distant aspiration."