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I start by commending Mr Reed for his dedication to the Bill and, more importantly, for his dedication to his constituent Seni Lewis and his family, who have been through unimaginable tragedy.
The hon. Gentleman’s campaign to highlight the issues that the Lewis family have faced and to create a positive change in mental health practices is admirable and a true reflection of the care and compassion he applies to his role in his local community. As he knows, and as we have discussed on a number of occasions, I support the core principles of what he is aiming to do. The Bill is a bit of a curate’s egg, because some bits are very good, some bits are bad and, most frustratingly—this happens with virtually every Bill that comes before the House—some bits could have been much better, as he and I both agree.
As my hon. Friend Sir Christopher Chope mentioned, the Minister said on Report that she could not agree to certain things being included in the Bill but that she wants them to be included in statutory guidance. I will outline my under-standing of the things that will go into statutory guidance, which the Minister will hopefully either confirm or correct. Hopefully, as I have always intended, the Bill will then be able to complete its passage in no time at all.
Clause 5, on training in appropriate use of force, is a positive step forward in the care of patients. It is an important change, as it centres on the very core of health services—the patient. Key elements of the training programme are listed in subsection (2). The use of techniques for avoiding or reducing the use of force, and the risk associated with the use of force are two fundamental points that are vital when restraint methods are part of a medical care plan.
It must not be forgotten that the most forceful restraint methods are advised to be used as a last resort. Medical staff should be fully versed in a wealth of techniques to avoid such restraints, where possible, but it must not be assumed that restraint should be banned altogether. Unfortunately, there are times when forceful restraint is necessary, but it is essential that such techniques are used with a full knowledge of the associated risks.
It is regrettable that my amendment 12, on introducing training on acute behavioural disturbance, was not accepted on Report, as it would have enhanced the Bill. I thank the hon. Member for Croydon North for supporting that amendment. I have been advised by the Minister that such training will be added to statutory guidance instead, and I thank her for sending me a letter on Wednesday to follow up on many of these points.
My concern, and I would like some clarification, is how the statutory guidance will be worded. In her letter to me, the Minister quoted the 2015 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines, which state that training on ABD
“should be included in staff training”.
The whole point of my amendment is that it would have ensured training on ABD must be included in staff training. My concern is that guidance is just that, guidance, rather than something that is mandatory. This is an opportunity to ensure the thorough education of staff on something we have established to be central to the Bill.
I therefore hope the Minister is able to confirm, whether today or in future, that training on acute behavioural disturbance must, rather than just should, be included in staff training. It must be mandatory.