Joint Committee On Human Rights Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

11.  Memorandum from Dr James Jenkins, Mensana Consultants Limited

  As a lecturer and trainer of mental health personnel (including ASWs) I have many concerns about the Draft Mental Health Bill. In relation to Human Rights, the following four points are particularly disturbing.

  (1)  A patient could be subject to compulsory powers as a result of examination by two medical practitioners and a clinical psychologist (acting as an Approved Mental Health Professional), and then be clinically supervised subsequently by the clinical psychologist. This represents a loss of the independent "non-medical" component of the examination.

  (2)  The Mental Health Tribunal will act in its role as reviewer of the application of compulsory powers of a patient subject to assessment and make an order for subsequent treatment. This surely does not provide an effective means of independent and impartial review required by Article 5.

  (3)  The ability of the AMHP (or local authority in certain circumstances) to choose who to appoint as the patient's nominated person denies patient choice and could still result in the problems highlighted in the JT case.

  (4)  Many patients could have to wait longer for a review of their status while subject to assessment than is the case under current s2 detention.

  I do hope the Bill will be improved before introduction.

19 July 2002


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