Draft Mental Health Bill could bring services to their knees, says Mental Health Alliance

19 November 2003

The Government's draft Mental Health Bill "threatens to overwhelm health and social care staff," Mental Health Alliance chair Paul Farmer said today.

Responding to an NHS Confederation report on the implications of the draft Mental Health Bill, Paul Farmer said: "Mental health workers and managers have expressed deep concerns that the Government's proposals will inexorably lead to more people being treated compulsorily.

"Add to that the extra safeguards needed to comply with the Human Rights Act, such as extra Tribunal hearings, and the draft Bill would create an enormous amount of extra work for psychiatrists, social workers and administrators.

"That would make staff even more overworked and risks people who do not need compulsory treatment being neglected. This risks creating a two-tier system of mental health care.

"The Government must think again about its plans and draw up a Mental Health Bill that limits the use of compulsory treatment to those who really need it and who can genuinely benefit from it. The Government's current proposals would bring an already overloaded system to its knees."

Notes to Editors