Responding to proposed measures in the Government’s Coronavirus Bill, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:
“The messages from the Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement show how seriously everyone is treating this global threat.
“Changes to mental health legislation that help alleviate staff pressures at a time of unprecedented challenge are useful but we need to be mindful that the changes represent a weakening of patient rights. Crucially, we must also return to existing safeguarding measures as soon as we can.
“It is vital we take clinicians with us as the landscape changes – they will be the ones implementing these changes and explaining them to patients. Clear guidance on how to use these emergency powers is needed for staff, patients and carers.”
“Also, while coronavirus is a physical illness, we must not lose sight of the impact the response will have on mental health services for many years to come.”