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Mental health rules get tough

3rd November 2008

A new reform of the Mental Health Act which will allow "compulsory treatment in the community" have gone ahead.

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The new regulations mean that patients who receive mental health treatment at hospitals in England and Wales could be made to return if they do not take the drugs they are meant to.

From Monday 3 November, the new rules will mean that if a detainee of the act has been released from the hospital, they can receive "supervised community treatment".

If they refuse to go along with the treatment then they can be sent back to hospital at once without having to be subject to a new order.

Mental health groups have been critical of the reform, saying that it has been brought in to close beds in psychiatric departments and to make savings.

Simon Lawton-Smith, of the Mental Health Foundation, said the new reform could aid some people "to stay well rather than lose touch with services and become ill again - but taking away anyone's right to refuse treatment is questionable."

He added that no information existed which showed that this helped mental health patients to remain "well any more than good local services".

Professor Louis Appleby, the national clinical director for mental health, said it was not true that the motivation behind the reform was based on trying to make savings.

He said: "This is about how, as a responsible society, we can ensure that some of the vulnerable members of society receive the treatment they need."

 

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