“Mental Health Bill” announced in today’s Queen’s Speech

It was announced in the Queen’s Speech today that a bill to amend the 1983 Mental Health Act will be part of the UK Government’s forthcoming programme.

Speaking to Parliament the Queen stated: “A bill will be introduced to provide a better framework for treating people with mental disorders.”

The Government’s outline proposals for the amending Bill have included controversial clauses that would allow people with “untreatable personality disorders” to be detained even if they have not committed an offence. However, there are unlikely to be any amendments awarding patients rights to treatment.

Responding to the announcement, Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of Welsh mental health charity Hafal, stated: “The UK Government has really missed an opportunity to work with patients and balance compulsion laws with rights to early treatment.

“Our clients and carers have always been reasonable: they have accepted that there are times when compulsion is necessary. But we also believe that including the right to early treatment in the amending bill would deliver a much fairer Mental Health Act for the future – an Act that would lead to a reduction in the need for compulsion.”

Hafal will be holding a rally tomorrow (16th November) in Llandrindod Wells where 150 service users, carers and health professionals will take part in a demonstration calling for reciprocal rights.

For more information, or to organise interviews/photo opportunities, please contact John Abbott, Campaigns Manager, on 07977 400 858/01792 816 600.