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'Clear time frame needed for Mental Health Act overhaul'

Mental Health Alliance welcomes the government's Queen's Speech commitment to review the act, and calls for urgent action.

The Mental Health Alliance has welcomed the government's Queen's Speech commitment to overhauling the Mental Health Act, but called for a clear time frame for its replacement.

The alliance, made up of 75 organisations working in the mental health sector, today published a report that includes a survey of 8,631 mental health service users .

'Not protected'

It reveals that 49% of respondents do not believe people are treated with dignity under the current Mental Health Act.

Half said they did not feel confident their human rights would be protected if they were detained under the act, while 72% said the rights of those with mental illnesses were not protected as much as those with physical illnesses.

RCN professional lead for

The Mental Health Alliance has welcomed the government's Queen's Speech commitment to overhauling the Mental Health Act, but called for a clear time frame for its replacement.


RCN professional lead for mental health Ian Hulatt wants to see community treatment orders reviewed. Picture: David Gee

The alliance, made up of 75 organisations working in the mental health sector, today published a report that includes a survey of 8,631 mental health service users.

'Not protected'

It reveals that 49% of respondents do not believe people are treated with dignity under the current Mental Health Act.

Half said they did not feel confident their human rights would be protected if they were detained under the act, while 72% said the rights of those with mental illnesses were not protected as much as those with physical illnesses.

RCN professional lead for mental health Ian Hulatt said he would like to see community treatment orders reviewed, as well as the number of people detained, and the 'residual failure to include service users in their care planning'.

Urgent review

Mental Health Alliance chair Suzanne Hudson said: 'As it stands the Mental Health Act is not fit for purpose, which is why we are urgently calling for the government to stick to its promise to review it, and take into consideration the thousands of people who voiced their concerns in this survey.'

The pledge to overhaul the act was part of the Conservative Party election manifesto. Outlining the government's plans at the state opening of parliament yesterday, the Queen said: 'As we work towards a new Mental Health Act, we will review the mental health legislative landscape and publish recommendations on where new policy could provide greater rights for those experiencing mental health problems so they can live lives free from discrimination.'

An spokesperson for the Mental Health Alliance said: 'We welcome the inclusion in the Queen's Speech and now want to see a commitment to a clear time frame and a clear review.'


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