“My government will continue with legislation to provide a new framework for the provision of compulsory treatment of those with mental disorders.”
– Queen’s Speech, May 17th
In yesterday’s Queen’s Speech, in which the Government set out its legislative schedule for the 18-month Parliament following the general election, it was confirmed that a new Mental Health Bill will continue to be developed in the next Parliamentary session.
The Mental Health Bill was one of 45 bills set out for the coming parliamentary session, although no specific promise was made to introduce a final Bill during that time.
With mental health high on the agenda, voluntary organisations across the country have called on the Government to take heed of the highly critical Joint Parliamentary Committee Report published in March.
Mental Health Alliance Chairman Paul Farmer said: “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.”
Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of Welsh Mental Health Charity, added: “Mental health organisations have their work cut out over the next year. We must ensure that the new Bill takes into considerations all of the concerns raised by the scrutiny committee. Time needs to be taken to absorb fully the comments and recommendations of the committee and to produce a fresh draft – a draft that has the rights of patients at its heart.”
Other bills set out for the coming parliamentary session included:
• the Incapacity Benefit Bill, that aims to reform incapacity benefit and get up to a million people back to work
• the NHS Redress Bill, that would enable patients to claim compensation for mistakes made by NHS hospitals
• the Housing Benefit Bill, which would introduce flat-rate housing benefits.
However, with a much-reduced majority, the Prime Minister faces a difficult task getting some of the proposed legislation through against his own party’s rebels.
To read the full text of the Queen’s Speech, go to:
To visit the Joint Parliamentary Committee site, go to: www.parliament.uk
For more on the draft Mental Health Bill, go to:
Mental Health Bill page