MPs to be told truth about draft Bill by real 'mental health experts'

23 October 2002

Hundreds of service users, carers and professionals will be in Westminster on Wednesday (23 October) to put pressure on their MPs to oppose the draft Mental Health Bill.

The mass lobby of parliament has been organised by the Mental Health Alliance (MHA), a group of over 50 mental health organisations. Its core members are: Afiya Trust, BASW, British Psychological Society, Clinical Psychology Centre, CPNA, Critical Psychiatry Network, Ethnic Health Forum North West, GLAD, King's Fund, MACA, Manic Depression Fellowship, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, POPAN, Rethink, Richmond Fellowship, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Psychiatrists, SANE, SIRI, Turning Point, UK Federation of Smaller Mental Health Agencies, UKAN, UNISON, United Response, US Net, Voices Forum and Young Minds.

The lobby has been timed to put pressure on the government to make key changes to the draft Bill as they decide if it is to be included in the Queen’s Speech in November.

Alliance chair Paul Farmer says:

"We urge the government to seize this chance to pass mental health legislation fit for the 21st century before it’s too late. That means making significant changes to its current draft Bill, which is unworkable and fundamentally flawed in its current form."

The Alliance hopes that 1,500 people will attend the lobby on Wednesday from 2.30 pm. Over 1,000 people attended the previous MHA parliamentary lobby in June 2000.

Mr Farmer says:

"MPs will hear firsthand why hundreds of people fear the Bill would turn their doctors into jailers, allowing people who have committed no crime to be locked up indefinitely."

A photocall will take place from 2.30-3pm at the St Stephens entrance.