Government comes under fire as it reveals plans to “protect mental health patients from the risk of hurting themselves or other people”
The Department of Health announced two programmes of work last week (Friday 15 September) which they say aim to protect mental health patients from the risk of hurting themselves or others.
The National Risk Management Programme has been set up to improve the way professionals assess risk, ensure that lessons are learnt from past incidents and make sure that information is shared between agencies to help prevent any future incidents.
The Department also announced that it was to undertake a review of the Care Programme Approach which will focus on cutting red tape and giving patients more control over their care and their choice of treatment.
Talking of the two reviews, Rosie Winterton MP, Minister of State for Health Services said: “Some people with severe mental health problems can pose a danger to themselves. A smaller number can pose a danger to the public. We are committed to minimising this danger and helping patients regain their independence.
“We need to be better at spotting the signs of danger, we need to improve the way agencies work together and we need to provide care that will help patients recover and regain their independence”.
The joint initiatives which Winterton said would “complement the new Mental Health Bill” were announced as the Department of Health published an independent review of murders committed by people with severe mental illness. The report by Professor Tony Maden of Imperial College London supports compulsory treatment in the community of patients with a serious mental illness and a history of violence and non-compliance.
The review has come under fire from many within the mental health community, who argue that early intervention, better communication between agencies and improved services for people with a mental illness and their families would do far more to prevent these rare tragedies involving people with mental illness than compulsion in the community – which can only be useful to a very small group of people.
Ian Hulatt, Mental Health Advisor at the Royal College of Nursing said: “More effective communication, not compulsion, is the key to reducing the number of tragedies this initiative attempts to avert.”
Tim Loughton, Shadow Health Minister said: “The fact that the replacement for the failed Mental Health Bill is still seen as a Home Office initiative – which is all about locking people up, rather than a health issue which requires medical solutions to medical problems – shows once and for all that this Government understands nothing about the needs of people with a mental illness and continues to treat them as second class citizens.”
To find out more go to http:www.gnn.gov.uk