Mental Health Services

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:03 pm on 7th February 2006.

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Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton The Minister of State, Department of Health 4:03 pm, 7th February 2006

There is no such thing, I am sure, especially in the hon. Gentleman's case.

The hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire talked about the draft Mental Health Bill. We will introduce the Bill when parliamentary time allows. It is vital that we modernise mental health law and bring it into line with human rights legislation. Where compulsory treatment is necessary, we must reach a quality and level of service that gives people the treatment that they need and minimises the need for further periods of compulsion. These are not easy issues to deal with, but we are determined to do so.

Improving the mental well-being of individuals and our wider community, and tackling the stigma and discrimination suffered by those with mental health problems, will not be achieved simply by modernising mental health legislation and reforming mental health services. We need an approach that stretches across Government, which is why in 2004 we published the social exclusion unit report, which sets out a series of steps that need to be taken by the Government at all levels. For example, we need to examine access to housing, employment and a range of local services, which many of us take for granted. That is also why we published the health, work and well-being strategy at the end of last year, which looks at how to help people stay in work, and also how to help people back to work. That was part of the overall direction of travel set out in our recent Green Paper on welfare reform.

Let us recall the situation 10 years ago, and how mental health services looked then. We had thin community services, modern treatments were rationed, and the use of the Mental Health Act 1983 was rising year on year because of pressure on acute care. There was no clear policy direction, and there was no action in critical areas, such as the care of people from ethnic minorities. Anybody who was working in the service 10 years ago, and who looks at it again now, knows how much has changed. It is no longer a Cinderella service. It is a vital and thriving part of a modern national health service.

Our record on mental health is one of unprecedented progress and achievement. What I have described today is a serious, radical and long-term programme of change and modernisation. That is the future of mental health care under this Government. I urge hon. Members to vote against the Opposition motion and for our amendment.


Posted on 12 Feb 2006 11:21 am (Report this annotation)

how can you put the modernising of mental health law and human rights in the same sentence as compulsory treatment it is a total contradiction...there is nothing humame about compulsion...try it out sometime it is extremly unpleasant