NHS Confederation responds to the Joint Committee’s report on the Draft Mental Health Bill

Sean Duggan responds to the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill's report into the government's Mental Health Bill.

19 January 2023

Responding to the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill's reportSean Duggan OBE chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s mental health network, said:

“We welcome the report on the Draft Mental Health Bill and would like to thank the Joint Committee for giving us the opportunity to provide oral evidence.

“The government’s Mental Health Bill is an important step forward towards badly needed reform and it’s imperative that this vital piece of legislation gets taken forward without delay, as recommended by the report. With more people being detained under the existing Act every year, and with unacceptable disparities in rates of detention for some ethnic minorities it is time to act.

“As the Joint Committee rightly point outs, this piece of legislation will only get us so far and it can’t be implemented without the right workforce and adequate resourcing. 

“We welcome the proposed post of a statutory Mental Health Commissioner. This post would be essential for overseeing the progress of the reforms and go some way to helping achieve parity of esteem.

“We also need to be mindful that some changes in the Draft Mental Health Bill could mean more people with learning disability or autism having detentions with fewer safeguards in place, and we welcome the recommendations that address this. Reducing the number of people with learning disabilities and autism in long stay hospitals should be the direction of travel, but we agree with the Joint Committee that there should be a staged approach to these reforms to allow time to fund and develop sufficient community care provision.

“Whilst we agree with the Joint Committee that Community Treatment Orders don’t work for some people, our members believe that they do work for others who may otherwise have to be admitted to hospital and have a more restrictive detention. Community Treatment Orders should not be scrapped, but rather reformed.”