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Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:44 am on 6th July 2018.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley 9:44 am, 6th July 2018

Absolutely. The hon. Gentleman is not alone in that, and nor is the autism community—I want the Bill to become law, too. If he had not intervened on me, we could have completed this a bit sooner. I assure him that this Third Reading will complete very soon. I certainly do not intend to go on for long today and I do not think anyone else does. We want to complete this as quickly as possible and see the Bill on the statute book. I want to see that just as much as he does.

Clause 6 deals with recording the use of force and I am very supportive of having this in the Bill. It is right to record the carrying out of such practices on patients. The police have a system in place when using restraint as part of their role, so it is only right that medical staff should follow suit. I am advised by my local care trust that it does have some measures in place to record restraint of a patient, but this Bill will of course make it a legal requirement to do so, which is important and absolutely right. Again, I was disappointed that my amendment proposing that these records be added to the patient’s medical records was not accepted. As I have stated, restraint is considered to be a form of medical care and therefore should be documented in the patient’s medical notes. That would help people to know what reaction the patient had had when restraint had happened in the past. I hope the Minister will make sure that the statutory guidance can be used and updated to make sure that these things are added to people’s medical records at the same time. I hope she will be able to confirm that in the fullness of time, too.

On clause 6(5), the information listed to be included in the report is largely constructive. Where I feel it falls short is in insisting on adding what are referred to as “relevant characteristics”. As the hon. Member for Croydon North knows too well, I do not agree that that is necessary. I am of the opinion that including these “relevant characteristics” detailing race, sexuality, religion, marital status and so on is purely a politically correct gesture in order to be seen to be doing something to combat discrimination, when instead it causes the illusion of discrimination. There is a notion that this creates a more transparent mental health service, but that is not the case. For instance, the detailing of these “relevant characteristics” will extend only to the patient and not the staff. My amendment to say that staff members should be included in this was also supported by the hon. Gentleman, for which I am grateful. I hope that the Minister takes on board those points and will ensure that the statutory guidance she produces in conjunction with the Bill will set out that staff members’ “relevant characteristics” will be included alongside those of the patient.