Tag Archives: mental capacity act

My view on our conference motion to end discrimination in mental health care

The problem with conference is that it is impossible to get to everything! I was hoping to speak on Sunday morning in our debate on the policy motion entitled, “Ending Discrimination In Mental Health Provision”. Regular readers of LDV know that mental health policy is an area I feel strongly about, so I am gutted I can’t get there due to a conflict.

 So I’ll blog my speech instead…

Currently, in our country if you are someone without a mental disorder you have an absolute right to refuse medical treatment or refuse to be detained for medical purposes.

However, if you have a mental disorder or have learning difficulties you lose that right and can be detained and treated under the Mental Health Act 1983 without giving consent.

As the charity Mind has pointed out, anyone with capacity who does not have a mental disorder should not be involuntarily detained. Forcibly detaining someone based on disability is completely discriminatory and should be stopped. As this motion says in lines 17-18, such detentions are in breach of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I am particularly concerned that the Mental Health Act 1983, as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007, justifies the involuntary detention of those with learning difficulties whose behaviour is “abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible”. Behaviours in those with learning difficulties often have unrelated causes (sensory overload, for example), so understanding the cause of such behaviour, and treating the underlying symptoms is what is needed, not involuntary detention.

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Paul Burstow MP writes: Let’s end this silent scandal

1,800 people with dementia are dying every year having been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, and I am determined to end this silent scandal.

For more than a decade I have been campaigning to reduce the number of people whose lives are cut short thanks to the routine long-term prescribing of drugs by GPs. These drugs have sedative effects which makes it easier to ‘manage’ dementia patients. But they are effectively a chemical cosh which have side effects and can have devastating consequences.

Last year, as minister for care services, I set an ambitious target to reduce the number of patients routinely given anti-psychotic …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

If you want to understand modern government, understand the Office of the Public Guardian

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) neatly encapsulates much of how modern government is run, its weaknesses and the problems our democratic systems face in trying to control or improve bureaucracy.

The Office of the Public Guardian was created for the best of reasons following the 2005 Mental Capacity Act in order to administer a new Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) process by which people can lay down what should happen to them and who can make decisions for them if they lose the ability to decide for themselves.

Giving people more and clear control over their own lives is what government should do. Moreover, the OPG is, in theory, an accountable public body with annual reports, performance standards laid down by the Ministry of Justice and its operations open to questioning in Parliament.

But the reality of how it works also reveals the dark side of modern government.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 6 Comments
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