17 May 2005

A coalition of some 69 charities, user groups and professional organisations today called on the Government to make a new start to its plans to reform the Mental Health Act.

Responding to the inclusion of a Mental Health Bill in the Queen’s Speech today, Alliance chairman Paul Farmer said: "At the beginning of its third term, the Government has a unique opportunity to look again at its proposals to change mental health law.

"The Joint Scrutiny Committee report on last year’s draft Mental Health Bill made many sensible recommendations for legislation that would protect the public while also upholding the human rights of people with mental health problems.

"We very much hope that the Bill presented to Parliament this session will show the Government has listened to the many hundreds of professionals, service users, carers and members of the public who have expressed their concerns about its previous proposals. We believe that there is a workable way forward: that human rights and public safety need not be in conflict with each other.

"We will do all we can as an Alliance to help the Government find that way forward."